Big 10 slow down?
Just when it seemed that the Big 10 was poised to announce expansion plans that could change the face of college athletics, Big 10 commissioner, Jim Delany, announced last week that it would be 12 to 18 months before a vote would be taken on expansion.
The league’s presidents meet in Chicago on June 6 and it was widely speculated that a vote to expand would be taken then and that some schools would be formally invited. A Kansas City radio station even reported a couple weeks ago that a decision had been made to invite Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers and Notre Dame. All the parties involved subsequently denied that report in some fashion.
Still, the report was out there and where there is smoke, there is usually fire. In this case, one had to figure the schools and conference had to deny the rumor at first, even if it were true. Without an official vote, it would be bad form to give the report credibility. With the June 6 meeting upcoming, an announcement seemed logical.
With the Big 10 announcement last week in the mix, it would appear the conference is not going to move just yet. What that means is anyone’s guess. It could be a ploy just to get the media and bloggers to turn down the heat. It could also be a whole truth and the Big 10 is indeed going to continue to evaluate expansion.
The odd thing is the Big 10 never tried to hide their discussion of expansion. Unlike the ACC, Delany said his office would contact other conference commissioners before talking to their member schools. Until now there was little posturing done by the Big 10 to suggest they were on anything, but a fast track to expansion. So, what, if anything, has happened to the timing?
If the Big 10 is slowing down its expansion process it will give those schools that could be adversely affected by a conference reshuffling time to form some new strategies. Ditto for other conferences. The Big East seems to be the BCS conference most vulnerable and 12 months could possibly help them solidify a plan to stay together. That is probably wishful thinking because an invitation to a Big East school is not likely to be turned down, so the Big East will be in a precarious spot in 12 to 18 months as well.
The 12 to 18 month window will give a conference like the SEC time to put a plan together to be positioned exactly how they want to be. That may include expansion to 14 or 16 teams, or it may remain at 12. We do know the SEC is discussing adding teams, but there hasn’t been much banter since the Big 10 hit the brakes last week.
The latest SEC expansion theory has their wish list to include Miami, Florida State, Texas and Texas A&M. Don’t know if that info is more credible than the one which had West Virginia University as a SEC candidate, but that info is circling the rounds. Texas has also been mentioned as a candidate for the big 10.
The Big East Conference meetings are in Ponte Vedra, Florida this week, so keep your ears open for any tidbits that may come from those meetings.