Tag:Conference Expansion
Posted on: October 28, 2010 1:33 pm

Nevada, Fresno St. told to grab a Snickers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Why the delicious nougaty candy-related reference to lead off this post? Because Nevada and Fresno State are, as the tagline goes, not going anywhere for a while . Their move into the Mountain West and out of the ever-wobbly WAC has been delayed by a year, until 2012, as part of the resolution of a WAC lawsuit that asked the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs to either wait it out one extra season or fork over a cool $5 million each.

That kind of money doesn't grow on non-AQ trees, so both schools will pay a meager $900,000 (though they'll also forfeit their 2011-2012 league distribtuion check , making the true price tag a bit heftier) and spend another year lining up against the remnants of the WAC. That conference and commisioner Karl Benson came out the clear losers in this latest round of west coast conference expansion, but this is a major win that will give Benson a desperately-needed extra year in which to cobble together a strategy for keeping the 48-year-old conference afloat.

Everyone else involved in the MWC-WAC-BYU expansion brouhaha, though, comes out a loser in the short-term of today's decision. Let's count the ways:

Nevada and Fresno : Not that either program will likely be looking at a BCS berth in 2011, but nonetheless that goal will be all-but-impossible playing in a watered-down, Boise State -less WAC that will rank with the Sun Belt and MAC as the FBS's worst. Maybe more practically, a MWC schedule would be substantially more appealing to ticket-holders than going another round with San Jose State and Idaho . (The proud Pack men's hoops program would have been much more likely to earn an NCAA Tournament at-large berth out of the MWC, too.)

Boise State : Speaking of the Broncos, the 2011 MWC will likely offer a better strength-of-schedule quotient than the 2011 WAC, thanks to the likes of TCU , Air Force , and a rejuvenated San Digeo State . But without the Pack and the Bulldogs (or, of course, deserters BYU or Utah ), the sad-sack bottom half of the MWC still projects to be so weak that there won't be that much difference. If the Broncos do mount another undefeated charge at the national title game, tilts against known quantities like Nevada and Fresno would have come very much in handy.

The Mountain West: The MWC keeps trying to push the rock that is automatic qualification up the hill that is the BCS , and it keeps rolling downhill. A league with Boise added to the Utah-BYU-TCU axis was a lock, but the Utes and Cougars jumped ship. A league with Nevada and Fresno adding depth to the TCU-Boise axis also stands a good shot given the Big East 's current woes, but now that league won't start play until 2012, by which time it's possible a bigger fish picks off the geographically-distant Horned Frogs. (There's already rumors about TCU being offered a spot in the Big East.)

After today, the league seems more than ever to be merely running to stand still.

Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:38 am

USC, UCLA to receive more TV money in new Pac-12

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While conferences like the Big Ten and SEC have always split revenues from television deals equally amongst the schools within their conferences, that has never been the case in the Pac-10.  In the Pac-10, while the conference splits revenues from bowl appearances and the NCAA basketball tournament, television money has always been distributed according to the number of times each team has appeared on television.

The more often you are on television, the more money you'll get. 

Now you would think that this would change once the conference expands to twelve teams next season, as the conference looks for a new television deal that should be a lot more lucrative than its current deal, and also has its eyes on its own television network like the Big Ten has.  However, according to a report in The Seattle Times, that's not the case.  The current arrangement being discussed would see the two Los Angeles schools, USC and UCLA, getting $2 million more than the ten other schools in the new Pac-12.
Sources familiar with the Pac-10's recent discussions over the expansion issues say the presidents will vote on a proposed $2 million-per-year payout apiece for USC and UCLA above the other 10 members of the new Pac-12 until the year that combined broadcast revenues reach a certain threshold. Then the 12 members would share equally.

That threshold is still in question, and probably will range from $130 million to $170 million annually. Consensus on the number could be fine-tuned already, as Scott is known to have had back-channel talks with presidents as a result of groundwork laid by athletic directors in recent months.
The Pac-10 currently pulls in about $53 million annually from its television deals for football and basketball, though that number should grow by quite a bit when a new deal is struck.  Still, just because the conference should earn a lot more money, that doesn't mean it's guaranteed.  Which, if were to happen, could lead to trouble for the conference down the line.

Just ask the Big 12 what happens when one team gets a bigger piece of the pie than the rest, and other grow tired of being treated like a lesser member of the conference.
Posted on: October 15, 2010 12:07 pm

USC AD Pat Haden talks Pac-10 alignment

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Pac-10 still has a lot of details to work out for the 2011 season when both Colorado and Utah will join the conference.  Really, all we know for sure about the new Pac-10 is that its going to have a conference championship game, 12 teams and two divisions.  Where that conference championship game will be held, or who will be in those divisions, we don't know.

Thanks to USC athletic director, Pat Haden, however, we're beginning to at least get an idea of what the divisions will look like.  The conference athletic directors got together for a meeting last week in which they discussed these matters, and one of the divisional suggestions passed by a 7-to-5 vote.  Though that doesn't mean it will be put into effect.

The plan is to break the conference up between north and south, but that creates a problem for schools in Washington and Oregon who need to keep an imprint in the state of California for recruiting purposes.  So a bit of a compromise has been struck.  Both Cal and Stanford would be placed in the North Division, while the two newcomers to the conference will head south.

Which means the Pac-10 would look like this.


  • Cal
  • Oregon
  • Oregon State
  • Stanford
  • Washington
  • Washington State


  • Arizona
  • Arizona State
  • Colorado
  • UCLA
  • USC
  • Utah
Which makes a lot of sense, but Haden isn't really all that thrilled with the idea.  He's worried for his life, apparently.

“I told them my alumni will kill me if we don’t play the Northern California schools and have the weekender every year," said Haden.

“I proposed a 5-2-2 model that has us playing the five schools (UCLA, AZ schools and Co/Ut) every year and then have the Northern California schools as part of our regular 2 and then rotate the other two.  We need to play Stanford and Cal.”

Which doesn't seem all that unreasonable.  If the conference is willing to put Stanford and Cal up north so the Oregon and Washington schools can maintain a presence in the state of California, then I don't see why it can't give USC protected rivalries with Cal and Stanford as well.  The problem might come if UCLA asks for the same thing, because then the other four north schools may only get one game in southern California every six years or so.

The final vote will come later this month.
Posted on: September 30, 2010 11:34 am

Ohio State AD says Big Ten 'done with expansion'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ohio State and Michigan just to refues to agree on anything, don't they?

A day after former Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr looked into his crystal ball and predicted that Notre Dame would one day be a part of the Big Ten, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith picked up Carr's crystal ball and smashed it against a wall.  In an interview with Ohio State's student newspaper, The Lantern , Smith said the Big Ten is done with expansion.

"We're done with it," Smith said. "We're finished. The only thing that would cause us to look at it further is if someone contacted us. So, we're not going to go out and say we're thinking about expansion."

Smith also went on to say he thinks there are some schools out there that might contact the Big Ten or any of the other conferences, but unless they bring something -- money -- to add to the conference, they won't be considered.

So, in other words, the Big Ten isn't really done with expansion, they're just not actively seeking new members.  Which I'm not sure I totally believe, either.  When this all started Jim Delany said it would be a 12-18 month process, and though Nebraska sped that process up a bit, it's still going on.  Maybe Smith is right in that the schools won't be talking about adding teams when they meet in October, but that's just because they have to figure out what they're going to do with their current 12-team situation.

Once they're done with all that, though, the process will begin again.

Hat tip: CFT

Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:08 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2010 4:15 pm

Lloyd Carr: Notre Dame will join Big Ten

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You know, it's just been too long since somebody mentioned the idea of Notre Dame joining the Big Ten.
The whole situation reminds me of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, when Judge Reinhold fantasizes about Phoebe Cates shedding her top.   Notre Dame shedding its independence has been dreamt about by many, but who knows when or if it will ever happen.

The latest dreamer begging to be caught in the bathroom is Lloyd Carr.   The former Michigan head coach was in Montgomery, Alabama speaking to a group on Tuesday night when he looked into his crystal ball and told them all what the future holds.

"There are lots of changes ahead," Carr said at the Club, according to the Montgomery Advertiser's Wednesday website. "I'll give you one prediction and this is just a personal prediction, but I think Notre Dame is going to come to the Big Ten.

"The Big 12 loses Colorado (to the Pac-10) and Nebraska, so you know something is going to happen there.  I think we're entering a new era of expansion. What we saw last year, I just think (expansion) is not over."
As I said, this is nothing new.  The Big Ten has invited Notre Dame to join the conference on many occasions, only to be rebuffed time and again.  The conference tried to woo Notre Dame again this season before Nebraska decided to make the move and the Big Ten decided to stand pat for now.

The key phrase there being "for now."  Jim Delany has said that the Big Ten will continue to explore expansion, and that could include another dozen roses and box of candy for Notre Dame.  On a lot of levels it makes perfect sense for Notre Dame to make the move since it already has set rivalries within the conference.  At the same time, Notre Dame is a school that is steeped in -- and to some degree suffocated by -- its own tradition, and making such a move goes against just about everything else it wants to be.

Unlike other schools the Big Ten may target, who would receive a significant revenue bump by joining the conference, Notre Dame doesn't feel as though what it would get out of the deal would outweigh what it could lose.

Tip of the hat to Mr. Dodd.

Posted on: September 22, 2010 12:11 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 12:12 pm

The MAC looking to expand?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The game of musical chairs that conference affiliation has become over the last 12 months seems to be taking a break at the moment, but that doesn't mean that nobody is going to get the music going again at some point in the future.  The WAC is already looking to rebuild whatever is left of their conference and it seems that they're not the only non-AQ conference looking to expand these days.

Eastern Michigan athletic director Derrick Gragg says that the MAC may be looking to expand in the near future as well.
Eastern Michigan University athletic director Derrick Gragg wouldn’t be surprised if the Mid-American Conference issues invitations to one or two institutions to join the MAC in the near future.

“I think the MAC is going to try to extend invitations to one or two institutions in the next year or two,” he said.

Talking to the EMU Board of Regents Athletic Affairs Committee this afternoon, Gragg said current MAC members will be attending a retreat Oct. 11 to 13 to discuss various issues, including the shifting national collegiate sports landscape and what moves the MAC needs to make.
Gragg did not say which schools the conference may have its eye on, but did say that after seeing what happened to the WAC, expansion is something the conference needs to undertake just to ensure survival. 

Now is probably the best time to do it, too.  While the power conferences are momentarily content with their latest acquisitions, now is the time to strike just in case the Big Tens of the world wake up and realize they're still hungry.  Plus there's the fact that Temple -- a program on the rise in the MAC -- is only in the conference on a two-year contract that is football only.

Once that contract ends it's likely that Temple will look to move up in the world.  In fact, Gragg says he wouldn't be surprised if Temple did leave.  That would leave the MAC with 12 teams, but should the Big Ten expand further and maybe snag a few teams from the Big East or any other conference, those conferences may turn around and raid the MAC.

The MAC would just like to be prepared for it, which is the right strategy to have.

Posted on: September 21, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: September 21, 2010 3:19 pm

Report: Colorado to join Pac-10 in 2011

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A little over a week ago Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott was quoted as saying that he believed the chances of Colorado leaving the Big 12 to join the Pac-10 as early as next season were "worse than 50-50."   Well, according to one report, it seems that Mr. Scott may not want to go into the bookmaking business anytime soon.

According to Orangebloods.com, the Buffaloes are now expected to be a member of the Pac-10 starting next season.

But it's looking more and more like [the Pac-10] will be a 10-team league in 2011 because Colorado will move on to the Pac-10 after this school year, several sources said.

"There is too much consensus to get Colorado on its way to the Pac-10," an administrator at a Big 12 school told Orangebloods.com. "That's what Colorado and the Pac-10 want. That's what the Big 12 wants."

At issue is the money. Colorado doesn't think it can remain financially viable if it has to pay the one-year notifcation departure fee, which is an 80 percent forfeiture of revenues over a two-year period. But sources said the Big 12 is working on a payment schedule for Colorado to pay those fees over time to the Big 12.

Well of course the Pac-10 wants Colorado to join as soon as possible.  Did you see the 52-7 beatdown Cal put on them?  Everybody wants a piece of that action.

Okay, so maybe the Pac-10 wants them in next year so they can move forward with the division realignments, scheduling, a conference championship game, and their new televison network so they can start raking in the dough.  It makes sense that the Big 12 would prefer Colorado left in 2011 as well, seeing as how Nebraska will be joining the Big Ten next season and they don't want to be caught in 11-team limbo for an entire season.

The Orangebloods article also goes on to say that Texas AD DeLoss Dodds is also holding out hope that Notre Dame would one day bring it's non-football sports programs to the Big 12.  For that, we live Mr. Dodds with this.

Dream until your dreams come true, DeLoss.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com