Rumors are now fact.
Anonymous sources now have names.
There really is validity to the suggestion that the Big 12 Conference has (or at least had) made flirtatious overtures toward landing Notre Dame for everything but football.
Last week, while in Chicago for a work session that culminated with the announcement of the blueprint for a college football playoff, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick pooh-poohed a report that the Big 12 and Notre Dame were close to a deal.
The website orangebloods.com quoted two anonymous Big 12 sources saying Notre Dame's move from the Big East was imminent.
"I have no idea what prompted (the report)," Swarbrick said. "It is not based on any discussions, any meeting, anything that we have done."
He didn't go so far as to say it would not happen.
Earlier this week, The Oklahoman proved the scope of the Notre Dame discussion has been much broader within the league than anyone on the periphery might have been aware.
Through an Open Records request, the newspaper obtained a January memo sent from interim commissioner Chuck Neinas to the league's expansion committee.
The memo, directed to Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis, Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione, Texas AD DeLoss Dodds and Kansas State president Kirk Shulz, was an agenda to prepare the group for a late January teleconference.
One of the biggest concerns from the information in the memo is the weight Neinas -- who stepped aside as interim commissioner June 15 when former Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby took over as the league's boss -- gave to the opinion of television executives.
"Both representatives of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports indicated that Notre Dame's involvement with the Big 12 Conference would increase the value of the conference relative to future television, and also improve the image of the conference nationwide," Neinas wrote.
Say what you want about Notre Dame, the Irish -- even non-football sports -- are good box office. It wasn't a coincidence that ESPN's first GameDay visit at a women's basketball game was for a primetime matchup between Notre Dame and Connecticut.
Neinas said he discussed expansion with ESPN president John Skipper, Fox Sports president Randy Freer, and ESPN's head of college athletics operation Burke Magnus.
That group apparently came up with the idea of Notre Dame playing anywhere from three to six football games against Big 12 opponents, as part of the arrangement.
Now that the playoff situation is settled for the good of college football, Swarbrick can turn inward and try to dig his school out of the terrible second-tier bowl situation it will have to tolerate the next two seasons.
Otherwise known as Dumpster diving -- filling in spots other conferences can't.
A savvy guy who can broker a deal for the Super Bowl to come to Indianapolis -- and then deliver spring-like weather in February -- surely can parlay the Big 12's infatuation with his school into a deal that will allow his football team to piggyback on the league's tie-ins.