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Here's how much Notre Dame is reportedly willing to sacrifice to remain independent

The Irish don't make as much as an independent as they would in the Big Ten. The question: How much less?

Independence in and of itself has long been an institutional priority for Notre Dame, and we have an idea how much the university is willing to leave on the table to maintain that priority. 

On Monday, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported Notre Dame would like to earn $75 million a year from its next football TV contract, which means the Irish are willing to pay $25 million a year or so to keep their independence.

It's an open secret that Notre Dame has a standing offer to join the Big Ten -- has always had one, really -- which would pay the Irish at least $100 million per year in total media rights. 

In March, the firm Navigate Research released projections that show the Big Ten's upcoming media rights deals, which could be announced before the 2022 football season kicks off, which showed Big Ten schools nearing $100 million per year by the end of the decade. Those projections were done before USC and UCLA came aboard, which is anticipated to boost the value of the deal by approximately 15 percent. Notre Dame could be worth another 15 percent boost on its own, meaning Notre Dame could be leaving even more than $25 million a year by choosing not to join the Big Ten.

Notre Dame's current deal with NBC pays a reported $22 million this year. The Irish also get a portion of the ACC's ESPN deal as an Olympic sports member of that league. 

Notre Dame's partial membership with the ACC requires to the Irish to join that conference in football if it joins a league before 2036, which is when the ACC's grant of rights expires.

The CBS report indicated NBC is exploring acquiring "shoulder programming" with a conference -- the Big Ten and Big 12 were mentioned as options -- to increase its investment in college football beyond the six Notre Dame home games a season.

Of course, none of this is to say Notre Dame would join the ACC or Big Ten if NBC is willing to pay, say, $60 million a year for its football games. This just gives us an idea how much money Notre Dame is comfortable sacrificing to keep its favored-nation status alive. 

Beyond getting left behind financially, the other avenue believed to force Notre Dame's hand on conference membership was a new College Football Playoff format without any at-large bids -- but the Irish got good news on that front Monday morning.

As part of his State of the Conference address, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said he'd be comfortable with an 8- or 12-team Playoff with no automatic bids. Sankey worked with Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick last summer to propose a 12-team format with six automatic bids and six at-larges. Once that proposal was voted down over the winter, Sankey has moved further in the direction away from auto-bids and towards at-larges, which happens to dovetail with Notre Dame's independence interests. 

Now, if only NBC becomes willing to pay Notre Dame per game what it used to pay per season, and the Irish will remain independent for the foreseeable future. Or at least until 2036.