Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said Wednesday that he will not evaluate Charlie Weis until after the season, and that anyone who suggests a coaching change could occur should know that it is "not under consideration at this time."
"It's really dangerous to evaluate midyear," Swarbrick said, "but clearly we are better this year than we were last year. Look at the Colts of the NFL. The year they won the Super Bowl, they had lost to Jacksonville and everyone had written them off. Then look at the New York Giants. There are dangers in midseason evaluation."
Notre Dame is 5-4 this season and 27-19 in Weis' fourth season as head coach.
Asked what he would tell any recruit or fan who inquired about Weis' current job security, Swarbrick said: "I would tell them I am very pleased with the progress we have made this year and that we are moving in the right direction, that we're going to be even better next year, and that I would hope they would move forward with us."
There are seven years left on Weis' contract, with a reported salary of $3 million to $4 million annually. A person familiar with Weis' buyout said Tuesday that the money was so substantial that it was unrealistic to even consider.
"I've had a great relationship with Charlie," said Swarbrick, a prominent lawyer, consultant and executive in the collegiate and Olympic sports industries who was appointed in July as the school's 12th athletic director. "He's candid and straight with you. And he's helped integrate me into Notre Dame."
Swarbrick said Weis' recruiting track record also was a positive sign. Asked if it was realistic to expect Notre Dame to compete at the level it once did, Swarbrick said: "I don't know if there are another 11 national championships in our future, but I see no reason we can't compete at the highest level.
"We have the facilities and we can bring the highest level of student-athlete to Notre Dame. With reduced scholarships and other factors, I don't think anybody can repeat the success Notre Dame and Oklahoma did years ago. But I also see no reason we can't win a national championship."
Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.