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Big Ten meets, will likely speed up timetable


Jim Johnson

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Big Ten meets, will likely speed up timetable

Big Ten officials all but acknowledged Sunday that they intend to follow a turbo-charged timetable for expansion.

With possible expansion candidates Nebraska and Missouri facing an ultimatum from the Big 12, the Big Ten clearly is ready to stop dawdling and get down to business.

A longer way of saying that came from Michigan State President Lou Anna K. Simon: "Our announcement in December has caused institutions and conferences to consider their futures, and that has had an impact on our deliberations."

Big Ten presidents and chancellors met Sunday in Park Ridge for more than four hours, and at least half that time was spent discussing expansion.

Simon, who chairs the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors, said that no expansion votes were taken Sunday but that the league's 11 CEOs will not have to be present for a super majority (8 of 11) to approve inviting schools to apply for membership.

"My understanding of Big Ten bylaws," she said, "is that action can be done electronically, telephonically or in person."

Then she turned to commissioner Jim Delany, seated to her left, and added: "My lawyer has concurred."

It would surprise no one if Big Ten expansion is resolved in a matter of weeks, though Delany and Simon declined to discuss the specifics of the timing and which schools could be involved.

Some key remaining questions:

*Is Notre Dame still in the picture, and if the Irish (finally) say yes to the Big Ten, would that preclude the league from adding schools such as Nebraska, Missouri and Rutgers?

*What will Nebraska do? There's a strong belief that if Nebraska remains in the Big 12, Texas also will stay. If the Cornhuskers join the conference of Bo and Woody, Texas is more likely to head to the Pac-10 with five more schools (Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and either Colorado or Baylor) in its pick-up truck.

*If there's validity to the Austin American-Statesman report that Nebraska and Missouri have been given a deadline of June 11-June 15 to pledge their allegiance to the Big 12, will the Big Ten cooperate by extending application offers by then?

Delany said he could not comment on the Big 12 deadline report because he doesn't "have any knowledge" of it and that he had not spoken recently to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe (CQ).

While maintaining that it's possible that the Big Ten will not expand, Delany said that if/when it targets schools, the final steps will be: "Pretty serious. And pretty quick."

A few other tidbits:

*Delany mentioned the seemingly oddball possibility that the league "could act and act again." Meaning that if one school is ready to commit now but another needs more time, the Big Ten could expand in phases.

*On the heels of the Columbus Dispatch's publishing email correspondences between Delany and Ohio State President Gordon Gee, Delany was asked whether he's cognizant of the contents of his electronic correspondences. "I am now," he replied. So look for Delany to gather votes by telephone.

*The $22 million figure bandied about to quantify the Big Ten's annual revenue distribution to each school is too high, according to league officials. A more accurate one is $20 million. The Southeastern Conference on Friday announced revenue distribution of $17.3 million per school, but that does not include local media packages. (Florida reportedly makes an extra $10 million from its local deal with Sun Sports.)

The Omaha World-Herald reported that Big 12 revenue figures from the 2006-07 fiscal year ranged from $7.1 million (Baylor) to $10.2 million (Texas).

*Simon insists that the media has under-emphasized the importance of academics in the Big Ten's deliberations: "I was kidding with colleagues: I have facetiously said that at the start of this process, if we had given fifth-graders the criteria, the list of institutions would be essentially the list that has been bandied about ... by you all. With much more sophisticated analysis of the sense of 'fit,' but academics has not been much of the conversation. This is more than teams playing teams."

So what is the Big Ten's analysis based on -- AAU (Association of American Universities) membership? APR numbers? US News & World Report rankings?

"Most of the people in the room were provosts before they were presidents," Simon said, "so it's a group that is perfectly capable of making very sophisticated judgments on academics. If anything, we obsess about that."

*Delany gladly acknowledged that he reads a packet of daily clips from newspapers and blogs obsessed with Big Ten expansion. "It's a story du jour with obviously lots of twists and turns," he said.

He later added that in the final analysis, the decisions by the Big Ten and possible expansion candidates will be "about fit. About destiny."

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ND was also represented at the Big Ten meeting:

The 11 school presidents and chancellors along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick met for about 4 1 / 2 hours, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney said the majority of time was spent on expansion dialogue.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100606/SPORTS04/6060350/Big-Ten-Conference-officials-mum-on-expansion

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the only thing that matters to me is that USF stays in a bcs conference

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ND was also represented at the Big Ten meeting:

The 11 school presidents and chancellors along with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick met for about 4 1 / 2 hours, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney said the majority of time was spent on expansion dialogue.

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20100606/SPORTS04/6060350/Big-Ten-Conference-officials-mum-on-expansion

ND is going to cave.  They really have no choice.  This will probably be there last chance to join a solid conference.  If they balk now they would have to join cusa or the mac, unless one of the conferences leaves a spot for them.  I heard their beef was they wanted navy to get an invite also.

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Navy to the Big 10 is an interesting possibility.  I could see them going if ND joins.  Heck, I think they would join the Big East if ND added their football.

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What if ND joined the Big East as a football member. Would that save the conference? We know that would help with the TV contract. Would they be able to raid the ACC instead of digging down to c-usa? I KNOW THAT NOTRE DAME WON'T JOIN THE BIG EAST. This is just a "WHAT IF".

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If they threw Army into the mix, that would be three schools (Army, Navy, and ND) with a national following.  I know Army's been awful, but it is intriguing.

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Navy to the Big 10 is an interesting possibility.  I could see them going if ND joins.  Heck, I think they would join the Big East if ND added their football.

I have seen in a few articles up north (can't find the link) that ND will join if Navy is invited also.

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If they threw Army into the mix, that would be three schools (Army, Navy, and ND) with a national following.  I know Army's been awful, but it is intriguing.

Army used to be in a conference - some here may recall a certain Homecoming game - but the Black Knights left to go Independent because, for them, it made scheduling EASIER.

Navy has said they have no interest in joining a conference for similar reasons.

The Big East did talk with them about a hybrid - where each would be 1/2 members playing 4 conference games a year (2 home, 2 away)... but the service academies passed on that.

Remember, for Army and Navy, they don't need the $$.  It's not like having more cash would make them more competitive on the field - they are still limited by being service academies with significantly higher standards for admission than almost every other school (save, maybe, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, and Air Force).

For that reason, I suspect Notre Dame will move to a conference long before Army & Navy will.

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the only thing that matters to me is that USF stays in a bcs conference

+1

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