Having already posted at least three articles with the theme of “no new news” on the Big Ten expansion front, it’s nice to report that there have finally been a few minor developments.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany addressed the coaches and athletic directors at the annual Big Ten meetings in Chicago on Monday. Tuesday, he fielded questions from the media.
Delany reiterated that the original timetable for the expansion process–12-18 months–remains unchanged. He also said that the Big Ten won’t expand unless it finds an institution that meshes with the athletic and academic mission of the conference.
Among the more interesting nuggets to come out of Tuesday’s press conference was Delany’s comments regarding the possibility of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten.
Delany said that the conference has great respect for Notre Dame and its desire to remain independent. His comments suggest that the Big Ten got a “thanks but no thanks” response from the Irish.
Rumors abound regarding the Big Ten’s targeted institutions. Not surprisingly, Delany declined to name any of the candidates, but mentioned that the population shift to the southern states was one of the motivating factors for expansion. That doesn’t necessarily mean Texas, but adding a Big 12 school seems very likely. Rutgers and Syracuse remain attractive candidates to help market the Big Ten Network on the East Coast.
Multiple reports several weeks ago stated that the Big Ten Presidents/Chancellors would vote on expansion candidates at their annual meetings in June. Delany debunked those reports, stating that the process is far from over.
If you haven’t already, check out Adam Rittenberg’s Big Ten blog on ESPN.com. I don’t have much love for ESPN, but Rittenberg does a great job covering the Big Ten expansion topic.
We’ll keep following this story, for months and months and months. The face of college sports will change, it’s only a matter of time.