Wanted: BigTen By-Laws re: Expansion

Submitted by formerlyanonymous on December 12th, 2009 at 4:56 PM

Rather than posting this and having it lost in one of the other threads, I'd post it here.

I'm looking for a copy of the BigTen Conference ByLaws, specifically the parts about expansion. The general note is that a team must be part of the AAU and must be in a state that neighbors a current state with a BigTen institution. That officially limits expansion prospects to 8 current FBS schools, and only 7 from automatic qualifying conferences.

Those schools (per AAU website):

  • Rutgers
  • Maryland
  • Syracuse
  • Buffalo
  • Pittsburgh
  • Missouri
  • Iowa State
  • Nebraska

I'm not sure what it would take to override either of these two requirements, but I'm interested to find out. I'm sure enough money on the table would make it happen.

Barry Alvarez's quote about searching nationally for a way to expand has me wondering if the bylaw requirements exist, or if there is an easy fix to get around them.

Anyone know where those rules can be found, or any quotes to verify they exist?



December 12th, 2009 at 7:05 PM ^

If it is advantageous for the BT to do so, the bylaws will be changed. I still want them to take a TX or FL team to help recruiting. I think it has helped both the ACC and Big East in football to have FL teams.

The Barwis Effect

December 12th, 2009 at 7:40 PM ^

...are the NCAA bylaws regarding whether you HAVE to split the conference into two divisions if you expand to 12 teams.

I don't know if it's legal, but I've always said it would better if you did NOT split into two divisions. Rather, just play the season out and then at the end of the season have the first and second place teams in the standings play each other in the conference championship game.

That does two things:

1) Long standing rivalries are not affected because there are no divisions to keep teams from playing each other (as has happened with Nebraska and Oklahoma).

2) You get a truer representative as conference champion, as it's guaranteed to be one of the top two teams in the conference. When you have two divisions, some years the division champion of one division is no better than 4th or 5th best team in the conference overall.


December 12th, 2009 at 8:58 PM ^

considering the number of conferences that do not split into divisions for basketball (like the Big 12 and Big East).

I think the restriction is simply that you can't have a conference championship game with fewer than 12 teams in the conference.

Something to think about ... playing 1 vs. 2 every season would mean that you're guaranteeing one of your top two teams a late-season loss every year. Not so good for the BCS at-large bid they'd like.


December 17th, 2009 at 1:00 PM ^

The NCAA Manual is very clear on this point. If you want to play an "exempt" championship game (i.e., the game does not count against the participating schools' 12-game limit for the season), the only allowable format is to subdivide into 2 Divisions (which use "round robin" play, no less, although apparently they got some kind of mitigating interpretation in the MAC, which does not play a round robin in the East Division) and have the division champions play in a title game.

Nothing is stopping you from having a 1 vs. 2 game at the end of the season after you play in a single 12-team section, but to do it, you'd have to do like high school leagues do, and require that the league members reserve 1 game during the last week of the season in case they qualify.

I can look up the citation if you would like (but I am an MSU fan, so maybe you don't want my help!). I was searching for the Big Ten expansion bylaws and ran across this thread, thought I'd tell you what I do know for certain. I'm interested in knowing what the vote has to be. It's unlikely to be a simple majority, but it could conceivably be 2/3rds, 3/4ths, or unanimous. Also, does Chicago get a vote?

EDIT: The rule in question is from the NCAA Division I Manual. "The maximum number of football contests shall exclude . . . [a] conference championship game between division champions of a member conference of 12 or more institutions that is divided into two divisions (of six or more institutions each), each of which conducts round-robin, regular-season competition among the members of that division."


December 16th, 2009 at 8:35 AM ^

The chances that university chancellors and presidents in the Big Ten would lessen the prevailing standards regarding academic qualifications of invited institutions are slim and none. None of them want to be identified as having lowered the educational bar of the conference.

The bylaw regarding the location of a 12th school as having to be within the footprint or adjacent to the footprint could be amended without harming the educational mission of the conference.


December 17th, 2009 at 10:21 AM ^

I contacted Scott Chipman at the Big Ten office. He said that, contrary to popular belief, the reputed requirements about being in the AAU or being within or adjacent to the current Big Ten footprint are not requirements. However, he said that the required vote to admit a new member (2/3rds? 3/4ths? Unanimous?) is "not public information."