Blog Entry

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

Posted on: December 5, 2010 5:43 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

For the moment, it seems, Nebraska and twelve teams are enough for the Big Ten.  

The conference presidents and chancellors all got together for a pow-wow on Sunday afternoon to discuss the possibility of further expansion to the conference, and it seems that at the moment, everything is fine just the way it is.

Here is the press release that the conference released on Sunday.

This time last year, the COP/C believed that the time was right for the conference to explore the possibility of conference expansion and Commissioner James E. Delany was asked to provide recommendations for consideration over the next 12 to 18 months. The Big Ten began a thorough, deliberate evaluation and on June 11, 2010, the COP/C unanimously approved an application for membership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Since that announcement, the conference has been actively engaged in incorporating Nebraska, both academically and athletically, into the fabric of the conference and all parties eagerly await the completed integration which will take effect in July, 2011.

During today’s meeting it was decided that it was appropriate to focus completely on conference affairs at this time. “We have been thoroughly engaged in the process since last December,” said COP/C Chair and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie. “Following detailed discussions at today’s meeting, my colleagues and I can report that we believe that this process has reached its natural conclusion. We are pleased with the addition of Nebraska and look forward to working with our colleagues there in the years ahead.”

Although the conference will continue to monitor the intercollegiate landscape, it will not be actively engaged in conference expansion for the foreseeable future and does not expect to be proactively seeking new members.

All of which is just a fancy way of saying that right now there don't seem to be any schools that the conference wants right now.  The key phrases come in that final paragraph of the release where it says things like "for the foreseeable future" and "does not expect."  Which just means that Notre Dame still doesn't want to party with them.

Still, should that change at some point in that foreseeable future, then you can bet that the Big Ten will look over the idea one more time.  And if Notre Dame comes to the Big Ten, then that means the conference will be looking for a 14th member as well.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:41 pm

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

"The rivalry between the SEC and Big Ten just got a bit bigger and closer."

If you look at the all-time records, it really can't get much closer.

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: December 6, 2010 3:28 am

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

I wonder if this will spell the end to talk about superconferences, at least for another decade or two. The Pac-16 was halted at the last minute, the Big Ten+6 ain't happenin', and it appears Big 12 has survived for now, and with all of the remaining schools willing to bow to Texas, is probably more stable than ever. I was always one who believed that at least one or two superconferences would be born from all of this, but after doing some research, I have discovered that this is far from a new fear. In 1974, after the 3-division split, all of the football powers tried to break away from the rest of d-1 and create a 73-team "super conference" that would have much different rules than other divisions, would split revenue amongst only themselves, and would require members to sponsor football, and would be ultra-exclusive as far as attendence numbers, scholarship limits, and fan base. This was believed to bring the new "conference" a better TV deal since it would act as a confederation of the seven major conferences at the time, as well as 15 major independents. This whole idea eventually gave birth to Division I-A, as some schools were separated into I-AA. However, this "super conference" was not as exclusive as originally thought and was to governed by the NCAA, with limited negotiating power

Then, in 1990, the SEC and Big Ten both opened themselves up to consider expansion. At this time the Southwest Conference was unstable and the east coast was filled with independents. The Metro Conference, which did not sponsor football despite the fact that all 8 members had football teams was on the verge of creating a 16 team super-conference that would have pulled together Miami, Florida State, VT, South Carolina, Pitt, WVU, BC, Cincy, Louisville, Southern Miss, Tulane, Rutgers, ECU, Temple, Memphis, and Syracuse. In this lineup, ECU, Cuse, Pitt, and BC would have been football only members. But the idea dissolved when South Carolina was invited to the SEC and Florida State joined the ACC. The remnants of the conference formed the Big East, leaving out the smaller schools and forcing them to eventually join forces with Houston to form C-USA. At this time, there were already talks that the Big 8 may be splitting up since Oklahoma and Nebraska needed a more stable home for their schools, and the Southwest Conference was looking to make some major moves with the growing disparity in the league. A potential merger seemed possible, but if it happened, it was believed that Nebraska and Iowa State may seek a new home (The Big Ten). In the end, the Big Ten failed to lure in Notre Dame, but landed a solid consolation in Penn State. The SEC expanded by two with Arkansas and South Carolina, the Big East football conference was created, the Metro football Conference never came to be, and the Big 8 and SWC remained intact for the time being.
Eventually, the SWC conference became even more unstable, with Texas and Texas A&M petitioning the Pac-10 for membership, but they were denied. Then this happened, they opened discussions with the Big 8. Texas and aTm pulled TTU along with them and eventually Baylor, even though BYU had been favored by the former Big 8 schools. This left Houston, SMU, TCU, and Rice to find a new home, which they eventually did. Houston helped to found C-USA and reunite the some of the former Metro Conference teams. SMU, TCU, and Rice were accepted into the WAC, along with independent Tulsa and Big West schools UNLV and San Jose State. In 1996, this massive expansion on the part of the WAC created the first true superconference. After only three years of existence, some members grew tired of the new league and embarked on a quest to form a new conference. The Mountain West was born.
After this, there was relatively little movement among top notch schools until the ACC expansion of 2003-04. This left the ACC with 12 schools, and created a second superconference, but only in sports other than football, in the Big East. Still, conferences everywhere but the east coast were stable at this time.
Then, in 2010 came the reopening of Big Ten expansion, and with it the scare of super-conference resurfaced. Today, all hopes of a Big Ten superconference were shot, and rightfully so. There are simply no schools out there right now where there is mutual interest. I am sure Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, Mizzou, and others would love to get invited at this point, but the Big Ten appears to be looking for big name programs, namely Notre Dame and Texas. I think that the Big Ten would definitely take a couple of other schools along with those two at that point just to fill in the gap between current Big Ten country and Texas, but they don't need to take in schools like Rutgers, Pitt, or Syracuse who bring a sad attempt at gaining market value to the Big Ten. If the Big Ten does anything more, it is going to need to be BIG, and by BIG I mean involve either Texas or ND.
I still think that it would be best for the Big Ten to just expand to 20 and call themselves the Big Tens. This conference would include the current 12 plus Texas, aTm, Mizzou, Oklahoma, GT, VT, Notre Dame, and Maryland. This would give the Big Tens access to most of the major TV markets in the east and would include some name brand programs. Anyway, it's not going to happen. And, more than likely, neither is SEC expansion. The Mt. West has basically destroyed the WAC, and there have been a couple of other movements, but nothing too seismic. Perhaps someday superconference will come to exist, but if they do take over college sports, it will be a long time in the making.
I still think it would be possible for the Big 12 to expand back to their namesake, but they are in the same boat as the Big Ten right now, with no legitimate candidates. I would look to BYU if I were them, but they still have to find a 12th team if they do talk to BYU. The Pac-12 is probably done, and the ACC is unlikely to expand. Now, it's just a matter of wait and see in the Big East. And while those changes may cause a few more movements, the possibility of a football superconference seems dead.

Since: Nov 14, 2010
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:37 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Jul 19, 2009
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:56 am

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

Missouri isn't eligable.  They are south of the Mason Dixon line.  The Big Ten has always been a Northern Conference, as the SEC has always been a Southern Conference.  This should never change.  If they are going to destroy that tradition it will be for someone bigger than Missouri.  Texas or, more likely, Oklahoma with the built in rivalry with Nebraska.  Please, no West Virginia/ Maryland/ Louisville/ Kentucky/ Missouri/ etc.  If not Notre Dame than a northern Big East team or a team from the Big Twelve North Division (RIP) minus Missouri. 

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: December 5, 2010 10:48 pm

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

Big Ten should go try to get Texas again if they are still trying to get ND.  Texas would be a huge add even though they arent in the region.  More prestige into the conference.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: December 5, 2010 9:59 pm

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

I am glad they are staying at 12.  It is a perfect number, and the conference adding Nebraska means they will be better than ever.  The rivalry between the SEC and Big Ten just got a bit bigger and closer.  There is absolutely no need to add a Rutgers or Maryland, or even a ND to the mix.  The Big Ten already has as many or more national powers as any conference in the country and they do not need to add a bunch of average programs to the mix. 

Since: Dec 5, 2010
Posted on: December 5, 2010 8:08 pm

Big Ten has no plans to expand further right now

IF Notre Dame ever goes into a conference, it will NOT be the Big Ten. ND will go to the Big East because the administration knows ND won't be able to compete on a regular basis in the Big Ten so as to get a BCS bid. Going into the Big East would give them a "fighting" chance to win a league and get an automatic bid to the BCS.

Since: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: December 5, 2010 7:52 pm


I like the fact that they're stopping. I think they need to work out some of the kinks especially to see how this divisional line up is going to turn out. Notre Dame is the biggest factor obviously.  I think the 13th and 14th teams will be Rutgers and Maryland, Missouri will be the 15th and they go to Notre Dame one more time and get them. Adding Rutgers and Maryland will put the Big Ten in danger of splitting in two conferences old rivals will split.  I think the Big Ten must stop. Only Notre Dame and Missouri, in my opinion could truly add stability. I like Missouri, if you cant tell.

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