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Report recommends expansion for Big Ten

Is an expanded Big Ten closer to becoming a reality than anyone had imagined?

Based on an article in the Chicago Tribune this morning, it certainly is.  Or, at the very least, could be.

According to the Tribune, and citing a source inside the Big Ten, an initial report commissioned by the conference recommends that the presidents should give two big thumbs up to expansion. And the reason for the recommendation is quite simple — mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money.

“The point was: We can all get richer if we bring in the right team or teams,” the source told the paper.

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez stated last month that 15 schools he refused to identify were part of the initial study, but the Tribune reports that five universities were analyzed — Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers.  The Tribune wrote that the source ” called those five “‘the obvious suspects’ and cautioned that other universities could earn consideration.”

That would seem to leave the door open for the likes of Nebraska and Kansas to possibly push their way into the piles and piles of Big Ten Network money, especially if the conference were to expand beyond just 12 teams.

In an interesting side note, a separate article from the same paper lists Rutgers as offering the best package out of all of the schools involved in the initial study, followed Missouri and Pittsburgh.  Those “rankings” came from a consensus of Big Ten sources, officials from other conferences and TV executives.

Speaking to the UW athletic board on Feb. 19, Alvarez stated that a recommendation of either one or multiple schools for expansion could be made to university presidents as early as this summer.

Based on this latest report, Alvarez is looking very much Nostradamus-like these days.

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Respond to “Report recommends expansion for Big Ten”
  1. dotbo says: Mar 2, 2010 1:39 PM

    “Based on this latest report, Alvarez is looking very much Nostradamus-like these days.”
    Yeah, not so much. He looks more like a person who reads the paper and has common sense. Missouri, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers were always the usual suspects of schools (with Notre Dame being a non-willing participant).

  2. DiamondDuq says: Mar 2, 2010 3:31 PM

    I’d like to see Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse enter the Big Ten and then have two 7-team divisions, the North and South. They could have 9 conference games, the 6 against their own division and 3 from the other division, 2 of which that would rotate with the 3rd being a “rivalry” game to be played annually. The split would be as follows:
    North:
    Minnesota
    Iowa
    Wisconsin
    Northwestern
    Michigan
    Michigan State
    Syracuse
    South:
    Illinois
    Indiana
    Purdue
    Ohio State
    Pittsburgh
    Penn State
    Rutgers
    The “rivalry” games would be played the last Saturday before the conference title game and ensure the annual Ohio State/Michigan game would be kept in tact. The rivalry games could be something like:
    Ohio State – Michigan
    Rutgers – Syracuse
    Illinois – Iowa
    Purdue – Northwestern
    Indiana – Minnesota
    Pittsburgh – Wisconsin
    Penn State – Michigan State

  3. JP says: Mar 2, 2010 4:57 PM

    As a lifelong Big Ten-er, I would have a real problem with adding Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers ahead of Missouri. Missouri just plain “fits” with the Big Ten better than any of those three eastern schools. Personally if I had to choose from the list given (and presuming Notre Dame is not in the consideration at all since they insist on remaining independent), I would choose Missouri, Pitt, and then either Syracuse or Rutgers for the final slot (doesn’t really matter).
    And as for the scheduling proposal, I say…forget the “rivalry” thing. It really serves no purpose other than provide an artificial way of making sure OSU and Michigan play each other each year. Because realistically, none of the other matchups you list are particularly strong rivalries. So you’re screwing up a whole set of scheduling just for the sake of one game. Instead, just play all the teams in your division each year and then 3/6 teams in the opposite division each year. Let’s face it, most years it would probably be OSU-UM in the championship game anyways. And even in years it wasn’t, they would still have a 50% chance of playing each other.

  4. Barrister says: Mar 2, 2010 8:28 PM

    Penn State WILL play Pitt at the end of the regular season if Pitt joins the Big Ten. PSU-MSU is NOT a rivalry by any stretch of the imagination. FTR-I have been a PSU fan since 1981 and have been married to a PSU alum(Class of 1979) since 1986 so I have some insight into PSU’s history dating back to pre-Big Ten days.

  5. Observer1 says: Mar 2, 2010 9:12 PM

    It will be five teams.
    Missouri
    Nebraska
    Rutgers
    Syracuse
    Pitt
    Two eight team divisions.

  6. Walden Ponderer says: Mar 2, 2010 10:23 PM

    Would somebody, somewhere, please inform Notre Dame that they are nowhere near as important as they think they are?

  7. greg5green says: Mar 2, 2010 10:56 PM

    I understand why these teams are being considered for the Big Ten, but why would Pitt and Syracuse leave the Big East… they got the Big East BBall money to think about

  8. Hovenaut says: Mar 3, 2010 11:37 AM

    I’m for Pitt, but where is West Va in all this talk? – focus is clearly on cherry picking the Big East, would think they’d be in the mix as well.
    Find them a better logistical fit than ‘Cuse or Rutgers – likely a better fit on the field as well.
    WVU’s fit sustains the Backyard Brawl, awakens a forgotten rivalry w/ PSU, and has the makings to start one w/ OSU.
    In any case, would love to see a super conference develop, drowning out Notre Dame and their TV/BCS deals.

  9. Blast Furnace says: Mar 3, 2010 12:00 PM

    Hovenaut, what you do not take into consideration is the bleak state of academics at West Virginia and the fact that team has had more off-field negativity around it than most others (dating even back before Pacman Jones and Chris Henry). The fact that the Big Ten has exhibited zero interest in WVU is evidence that the Big Ten schools take both of those things quite seriously. You can not simply look at the football field or basketball court when making these decisions. I agree with rooting for the drowning out of the mediocre (at best) and clearly over-inflated Notre Dame football program.

  10. Hovenaut says: Mar 3, 2010 2:21 PM

    Blast Furnace – good points yes, especially the academic issue. Again WVU’s proximity and existing history w/n the region bring a logistical fit.
    Even some of the Big 10’s big schools have had their share of off-field disciplinary issues (Ohio State – late Cooper era/Penn State in the mid 2000’s come to mind).
    I think the Big 10 is really looking at getting exposure in the New York market, obviously the potential better financial fit – through big money football and basketball possibilities.

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