Big 10 Presidents to Approve Expansion on Sunday?

Submitted by Wolves on April 18th, 2010 at 12:08 AM

According to this Chicago Breaking Sports article, the Big 10 presidents could approve moving forward with expansion as soon as Sunday, with negotiations with schools during the next couple of months and a potential announcement by the end of June. The article also seems to indicate they are leaning towards 14 or 16 teams. Do we believe the article?…



April 18th, 2010 at 12:28 AM ^

I find it very hard to believe that we'd try to add three, let alone five, teams. That would radically change the conference. I just can't see the league going in that direction.


April 18th, 2010 at 10:34 AM ^

But I'd prefer a radical change to just adding one team. I'm a traditionalist, and my biggest concern about conference expansion--and particularly dividing the Big Ten into two 6-team divisions with a championship--is the negative effect on the Michigan-OSU game.

At least with a 16-team conference, you could have two eight-team divisions and winning one of the divisions would be a much greater accomplishment than just winning one with six teams. Especially if most or even all of the Big Ten newcomers were placed in the other division. The eight-team division with U-M and OSU would thus be just a slightly reduced version of the old Big Ten.


April 18th, 2010 at 1:23 PM ^

I don't disagree with your last point, but the historical trend is to larger conferences. There's an upper limit to what makes for a feasible college conference, however, and that number may very well be 16.

Look, people used to scoff at the idea of 12-team conferences and they're now the norm. (And the Big East is already at 16 teams for basketball.)

It seems to me the BCS conference most vulnerable to being poached is the Big 12 because from a geographic standpoint, various Big 12 schools are good fits for the Big Ten, the Pac 10, and the SEC.

So, no, I don't see all the BCS conferences merging, but I could see one of them being picked apart.

This happened before with the Southwest Conference, which was a major conference before Arkansas left for the SEC in 1990 and Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor joined the Big 8 a few years later to create the Big 12.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:21 AM ^

So we'd probably get 3-5 crap teams like Iowa State or Syracuse? No thanks. Get us Pitt or ND so we can have a title game, and let's call it good.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:06 PM ^

While I cant argue that Syracuse football has been atrocious of late, they have an extremely rich history and a solid fan base... and little more than a decade ago they were top 10 nationally. Not to mention, their basketball team is pretty good and they do have possibly the strongest communications department in the country (hello ESPN B13 bias).
And seriously, do you really want to be staring down the sidelines at one of the greatest mustaches of all college football?


April 18th, 2010 at 12:17 PM ^

I like Syracuse as a prospective member. They're solid academically and an AAU member, but I don't know if their graduate research is up to par with the rest of the CIC. I think the big thing with Syracuse is potential for greater access to the NYC market. If you added something like Notre Dame with their big national following, and maybe a couple regional universities like Syracuse and UConn, you're probably more likely to generate interest from NYC sports fans. I'm not at all convinced that many people in NYC give a crap about Rutgers, but it sounds like they're usually in the conversation.

Assuming that those additions get you NYC, if you can also add Texas to get you Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio markets, and Maryland to get you the DC/Baltimore markets, the Big Ten would have great access to 7 of the top 11 MSA populations.

Unfortunately, I think you'd have trouble getting Maryland and Texas to jump onboard, Notre Dame is like a flaky 35 year old divorced former prom queen with seven kids who still thinks she's hot, and the other options probably aren't as attractive.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:31 PM ^

"Notre Dame is like a flaky 35 year old divorced former prom queen with seven kids who still thinks she's hot"

That comment pretty much sums it up. Maybe toss in "cosmetics saleswoman" after divorced.
But seriously, they represent a significant national market.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:07 PM ^

I'm convinced that we only go with 3 or 5 additions if there's too many great fits for us to turn down a school. So for example, if both Notre Dame and Texas wanted to join, you take a third team because you can't say no to one of those two schools.

Same kind of scenario if you have four teams you don't want to reject, say for example, Notre Dame, Texas (+ A&M to get Texas), and Syracuse all wanted to join the Big Ten, then maybe it makes sense to go to five teams. I'm hoping that the Big Ten wouldn't expand simply for the sake of expansion, and that talk of larger expansion is a sign that Big Ten TV revenues and the CIC is generating a lot of interest from some top notch prospective members.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:22 AM ^

I buy Brian's analysis that the 3-5 team expansion rumors are solely aimed at scaring Notre Dame into joining the Big Ten. So unless you're screen name is Irish, I wouldn't pay them much heed. And if you're name is Irish: watch out! This will change everything, and almost certainly to Notre Dame's detriment!


April 18th, 2010 at 12:32 AM ^

I am just enjoying the fact that the vice keeps closing on ND's family jewels. A little schadenfreude goes a long way with those guys and every development seems to make the scenario a little less Irish friendly. I'll be rooting for them to join the Big 10, but I am enjoying seeing them squirm between money and a pissed off fan base!


April 18th, 2010 at 2:02 AM ^

It would be pretty funny if the Big Ten expanded without ND and played a ten or eleven game conference schedule. Most teams wouldn't want to play ND, choosing instead to have a sacrificial lamb as a warm up game, and ND would have to play MAC and WAC teams while trying to convince the polls and computers that their record is valid.

I am tired of ND reaping the benfits of Big Ten membership by cherry-picking a schedule with a few Big Ten teams, but not paying their dues by being a member. If they did decide to join, though, I would be quite happy and impressed that they subjugated their greed and egos.

At any rate, it should be interesting.


April 18th, 2010 at 9:35 AM ^

Hey the Big Ten schools (UM, MSU, and Purdue) that play ND every year are just as guilty. They agree to the scheduling, and let ND play one-quarter of their games against Big Ten opposition.

House Divided

April 18th, 2010 at 3:27 AM ^

Is too freaking proud of their money they rack in from NBC and other media outlets to even care about joining the big ten. Plus with there whole "jesus is on our side who's on yours" cockiness I say let them be independent. Looks even better when we beat them.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:41 PM ^

Answer: ALL OF THEM.

Not only does ND not make the most money of any school in the country, they don't even make the most money of any school in INDIANA.

Those years when IU stays home from a Bowl game while ND goes to a Jan 1 BCS Bowl . . . yep, IU still makes more money than ND.


April 18th, 2010 at 2:27 PM ^

I know the BTN is a cash cow, but I've got to believe ND is still doing pretty well for themselves. They don't have to share a dime of what they get from NBC and from bowl payouts.


April 18th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

Here is the relevant bit from

"In 1991, the ND/NBC contract was about $7 million a year with revenue split between ND and the opponent. So, 3.5 million a year for ND. The deal has been renewed several times, and recently renewed to 2015. The Big Ten signed a deal with ABC/ESPN for $100 million a year for 10 years. Nearly 10 million per team...and then whatever the Big Ten Network is getting from the cable companies. I was able to confirm that OTL reports the Big Ten Network deal is $242 million annually. But the Big Ten Network is half owned by the Big Ten, with the other half owned by Fox Cable Networks (a part of News Corp.) So, really it's $121 million annually, which is still about $11 million per team, plus another $10 mil from the ABC/ESPN deal.

So, the point is made - unless Notre Dame is getting $20 mil a year from NBC for it's television network or starts its own basic cable network, the "We make so much money bit" isn't valid."


April 18th, 2010 at 12:54 PM ^

I don't think it will happen.

Once the B10 unleashes the torrent of mega-conferences, the SEC will surely follow suit. Anything we can do, they think they can do better (and faster).

I can see the SEC picking up Texas and A&M to go to 14, and even adding Oklahoma and OK St to go to 16.

As much as I am a B10 guy, this would be a terrific fit for the SEC and those 2-4 new schools.

If B10 goes mega, I think you are looking at ND (shotgun wedding), Mizzou, Syracuse, Rutgers (new $ markets), and Pitt (no new market but a natural fit all along).

If ND comitts career suicide and stays homeless, er I mean independent, I could see Nebraska added in lieu of ND for the "national prestige" factor.


April 18th, 2010 at 7:48 AM ^

on this one. It's not that--at the outset--mega-expansion didn't seem unlikely. But the thing has gathered momentum, and now all of the conferences are thinking defensively; this is not now a train that can easily be stopped. I will not be surprised if it's 3-5 teams. And I think there will be some highly positive side effects on the education side, with Michigan getting even more recognition as one of the two (three?) top schools among a collection of fine schools.


April 18th, 2010 at 8:55 AM ^

that anything has been done other making than a determination that there are schools willing to make the jump that would meet the Big Ten's high standards. In other words, expansion is feasible. That's primarily what "feasibility study" means -- it's possible it also means they looked at the consequences of expanding to 14 or 16 instead of 12, but that would be a secondary component of the study. The main thing would be to determine which programs both meet the Big Ten's standards and are willing to join. Once you have that list, you can consider other things, like the possibility of taking more than one.

The article, like many others, is jumping to conclusions when it claims "they" are leaning toward 14 or 16 teams -- probably all it means is that more than one program has made it to "finalist" status (i.e., both able and willing), certainly no fewer than three (Pitt, Missouri, and whatever), perhaps as many as five.


April 18th, 2010 at 9:05 AM ^

N.D., Pitt, and take a whim on Rutgers. See if that NY market can be cracked. If not Rutgers, probably Mizzou.

However, I would love Boise or Texas, preferably Texas


April 18th, 2010 at 9:37 AM ^

would be as follows: Pittsburgh, Missouri, and Kansas. Think about it -- what does Kansas basketball get from the Big 12 that they couldn't get in a Big Ten that includes Mizzou? Diddley squat, if you ask me.

Kansas City and St. Louis are nothing to sneeze at in terms of television markets.

The football divisions would be as follows, with a ten-game conference schedule:

EAST: Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh

WEST: Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas

That means the Big Ten has three major nationally-televised conference games every year: UM-OSU, UM-PSU, OSU-PSU. Any team that runs the table in the Big Ten East has a strong case for the BCS championship game.


April 18th, 2010 at 4:00 PM ^

the Big Ten is already unbalanced. I mean, look at the SEC -- they have enough power programs to have Alabama, Auburn, and LSU in the same division (plus Arkansas), with Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee in the other one. The Big Ten doesn't have that kind of numbers when it comes to excellence in football -- as a result, you basically have the big three or maybe four (Wisconsin) and everybody else. You split up the big three and you water the competition down too much. I think of those big state schools I put in Wisconsin's division, several are capable of becoming national powerhouses if they have room to grow -- Illinois, certainly, and strangely enough, I think Kansas could be huge with the right coach and the Big Ten behind it. That's why I pick Kansas over Nebraska -- UN will never be a basketball power, but KU could develop into a football power. Minnesota, with the new stadium, will get better, though it's too urban to go completely football crazy. They make a nice rival for Northwestern.


April 18th, 2010 at 4:11 PM ^

That sounds like wishful thinking. You're putting three of the ten winningest programs of all-time in one division and filling the other with what are historical also-rans, hoping that the also-rans get it together. The biggest problem with the western schools is that their recruiting bases aren't very good. Only Illinois has anything resembling a strong base (and it doesn't fully capitalize because UI is not that close to Chicago). The rest get few talented players from their home states. Most likely, under this setup the conference would be very similar to the Big 12, where you'd end up with a murderous East champ that dominates the West champ annually.


April 19th, 2010 at 8:54 AM ^

if you put one of the big three in a separate division, it immediately becomes the dominant team there. That's actually a lot like the Big 12, with Nebraska and 5 also rans (Colorado = Wisconsin) in one division, and two giants UT and OU in the other with a few other decent but not dominant programs. [Ignoring Nebraska in recent years -- they are historically a power, certainly on a par with OU if not UT.]

How is what you're arguing for any different from the current Big 12? I mean, how would you organize the current Big 12? The Big Ten's situation isn't altogether different. I say embrace the geographic reality of the Big Ten (i.e., 14) and let the chips fall as they may -- if the West loses every year to the East, so be it -- I don't think that's much different from the current Big Ten.

Note also I'm not really in favor of going to 14 -- I just think it is possible to make it work if you get the right combination of teams and are willing to play a ten-game conference schedule. My vote would be for 12 with a nine-game conference schedule. But I would still argue for geography and intense, pressure-cooker divisional rivalries over handicapping the divisions in an attempt to produce a balanced championship game.


April 18th, 2010 at 9:31 AM ^

It would be a bad move by Notre Dame if they didn't join. We could just have all the teams in the Big Ten threaten to break ties with them after their contracts are up and not reschedule them. If that wasn't enough to have them come aboard then I say move on.


April 18th, 2010 at 9:43 AM ^

I clicked into the article and got an ad for a "flatter stomach" and they showed what someones was like beforehand without a shirt!!!!!!

But seriously this isn't going to happen.


April 18th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

Is a reputable news source? I have never heard of that site, and it kinda seems pretend.

But I guess it is powered by the Chicago Tribune. Does that make it more or less trustworthy? Stoops to ND!


April 18th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

How would expansion affect the contract Michigan has with ND to play them until 2027? I think Purdue and Sparty No! also recently reupped with them for some time too. If a 14 or 16 expansion is in the cards and they go to a 10 game conference schedule, I don't think that would be grounds to break a contract and tell the Irish to shove off. ND would say you've got 2 non-conference games, one is ours for 15 more years. As much as watching ND struggle with MAC teams would be fantastic to watch, I don't see it happening for a while


April 18th, 2010 at 8:01 PM ^

The thing about contracts is that the only harm in breaking one is that you might have to pay some money to the other side. No court on earth would force UM to continuously play ND if UM wanted to breach the contract--they'd just make UM pay money to ND. It might be a lot of money, but I imagine it'd be offset by the additional revenue generated by the additional B10 schools, if expansion happens.


April 18th, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

In the wake of the 96 team aftermath from the NCAA tournament I am hoping the Big Ten Administration is thinking with more than just their wallets on this one. I am sure they are heavily leaning towards expanding at all costs and I am afraid we are going to end up with one (or more) second rate teams because everyone wants to see the size of the pot once a championship game is added.


April 18th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

Twelve teams makes all the sense in the world -- you get a division championship and maybe add a new TV market. Show me a decent college and a decent athletic department located in a state bordering Big Ten territory and I'll take that scenario seriously. The Texas talk was kinda crazy, for one thing, as valuable as the BTN is, there's no law saying that the other BCS conferences can't put their own cable packages together. But aside from that a twelve team league is believable and becoming more and more likely.

Fourteen teams is stretching things but my guess is you could make that work without too much violence. You'd only play two teams from the other division in any given year, which would strain things, but the other half of the conference wouldn't completely disappear from your schedule. FWIW my dream scenario would be Mizzou, Pitt, and then ND decides the Big East is doomed. A Fourteen team league is quite plausible.

A sixteen team monster league would scare me and probably scares the Presidents for two reasons: first, I'm not sure there are that many teams that fit the bill athletically, academically, and geographically. Second, it's already been tried and the result was a debacle. The WAC added a bunch of teams but the scheduling was unworkable, rivalries got broken up, and eventually the original WAC teams split off to form what is now known as the Mountain West. That history has to be in the back of the Presidents' minds. I can imagine the Big Twelve making a go at it -- there aren't a whole lot of interdivisional rivalries you'd need to protect, but I doubt that would work in our conference. A sixteen member league is crazy.


April 18th, 2010 at 4:06 PM ^


either michigan and osu can play twice a year or you have a title game that cant have the 2 premiere programs of the conference in it

i dont like either