Lost somewhat amidst the talk of NCAA Tournament expansion is the Big Ten’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of multiple institutions.
The timetable for expansion has been drastically accelerated, according to a Teddy Greenstein report in the Chicago Tribune Monday.
Representatives from multiple Big Ten institutions are gathering in Washington D.C. this week in conjunction with the Association of American Universities. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is in D.C. and is expected to meet with the Big Ten delegation.
So what does this all mean?
The Big Ten made it clear it planned to investigate expansion late last year. By the beginning of the year, Delaney hinted that the Big Ten intended to determine potential candidates within 12-18 months. According to Greenstein’s report, that timetable has been shortened considerably.
In all likelihood, Delaney will make possible candidates known during the BCS meetings next weekend in Arizona.
Things could really get rolling from there. The Big Ten will likely begin formal talks with potential additions shortly in hopes of making the additions official before July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year for institutions nationwide.
The other interesting details in the Tribune report concern the number of additional members being sought after by the Big Ten.
Greenstein reported the Big 10 is looking to add up to 3 schools. Notre Dame and Texas remain the most appealing, and perhaps unlikely, candidates. If the one of those schools joins, it is possible the other might follow given the financial windfall.
Notre Dame has maintained a public desire to remain independent. However, behind closed doors, the Irish could be enticed by the financial boost joining the Big Ten would provide.
Although Notre Dame enjoys a lucrative television contract, it would receive a substantial financial boost through the Big Ten’s revenue sharing. To put things in perspective, Indiana University makes roughly 17 million annually thanks to revenue sharing, while Notre Dame makes nine million from its deal with NBC.
Stay tuned for more on this story as details continue to emerge.