CHICAGO -- Jim Delany expects Notre Dame to stay put.
That was among the revelations made by the Big Ten commissioner Monday during his annual state of the conference speech at the Big Ten media days.
Delany summarized the summer of realignment by saying that his league was hurried into expanding to Nebraska because of the immiment threat from the Pac-10. Officially, the Big Ten is still on a 12-18-month track. (That track is now down to 4 1/2-10 1/2 months, so don't expect any more expansion soon.)
"I wouldn't have known that would be our decision in December of '09," Delany said of Nebraska. "It achieved unanimous support."
As for ND, Delany put a rather final word on getting the Irish in expansion.
"I don't see them as a player, really," Delany said. "I see Notre Dame in the Big East for many years to come. I see them as an independent in football for many years to come."
Knowing Delany, that could be a way of smoking out ND/Big Ten supporters.
In other news, the commissioner will lobby for a nine-game conference schedule, although such an arrangement will take a while as teams clear their schedules.
The first Big Ten championship game will be in 2011. Green Bay, Chicago, Cleveland and Minneapolis are all interested in hosting the game.
Expect a decision on the divisional structure in 35-40 days. Delany said he will go back to 1993 (when Penn State joined the league) to look at the competitive balance issue.
Also, don't expect a name change for the iconic conference. The 12-team league will remain the Big Ten.
The session ended with an unscheduled photo op featuring Delany, Tom Osborne and Joe Paterno. Big Ten types are already calling it "The Moment."