Notre Dame AD saw in the State of Tennessee the ideal partner to write history

Before becoming vice president and James E. Rohr athletic director at Notre Dame, Jack Swarbick Jr. spent decades practicing law in Indianapolis.

There is no HBCU in Indianapolis or Indiana for that matter. But there is the Classic City Circle. For about 30 years, he was one of the biggest neutral-site classics with HBCUs, and Swarbrick got to see that up close working with the Indiana Sports Corporation.

“Tennessee State was in this game six times while I was there, the seventh since I left – and it was one of the best events of the year,” Swarbrick said. “The excitement around this event, there’s alumni coming to our city, the bands, the game, and it’s always been a goal to try to bring some of that here if we could find a way to do it.”

Swarbrick said when he saw the opportunity, he reached out to TSU President Dr. Glenda Glover and Athletic Director Dr. Miki Allen to get the ball rolling.

“It was a special moment, a special moment in the college landscape because you have a first. And this is the first time that this historic program, Notre Dame, will play an HBCU institution. An FCS institution,” said the Dr Allen: “And so what that means for us is that we have the opportunity to really put our brand on display.

“It’s an iconic brand that still has a lot of history. We have a lot of passionate fans. We have a dynamic group. So there is tremendous entertainment value when you talk about Tennessee State University, not just as an HBCU but as a collegiate athletic program.

Tennessee State’s upward trajectory attracts Notre Dame

The game is scheduled to take place on September 2, 2023. When asked what Tennessee State stood out when considering possible opponents, Swarbrick said it was his entire schedule. jock.

“What struck me the most when we considered our options was the trajectory of this program. I mean, what they are achieving, whether it is the assessment of the introduction of the hockey in partnership with the Preds in the NHL, the investments they’re making in the football program… it just seemed right that this program was in the right position at the right time to do it.

But Swarbrick said he expects this weekend to be more than just a game of football.

“We’re really excited about the additional programming that we think we can do around this game. And I think [there are] opportunities for presidents to do things together. Faculty. Certainly the bands, beyond halftime. We want to take advantage of it. So it’s a great opportunity and they felt like the perfect partner. That they could make it work was just fortuitous to us.

Both head coaches — Tennessee State’s Eddie George and Notre Dame’s Marcus Freeman — played their college football at Ohio State. But both men have made it clear that this game is about their current universities and not their alma mater.

“It will be, I think, a scenario that we both play at Ohio State,” Freeman said when asked about that connection. “But it’s so much bigger than Ohio State. This is Notre Dame and its first opportunity to play an HBCU. And I think that’s where we’re going to focus, obviously in as a football program, and that’s something I look forward to.

George accepted.

“It’s the first time it’s been done to have a chance to compete against the best and we preach that we want to play the best anytime, anywhere,” he said. “And it’s just a wonderful opportunity that has presented itself. And I’m glad we did. »

Notre Dame AD: Tennessee State ‘perfect partner’ for historic game

Elizabeth J. Harless