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Big Ten Commissioner Talks Conference Expansion

gfx - they said itBig Ten commissioner Jim Delany started the expansion/realignment wheel spinning again with his league’s surprising grab of Maryland and Rutgers last November.  (The wheel never stopped spinning for smaller leagues, but all was once again quiet among the five power conferences when Delany struck.)  Now it’s rumored that the Big Ten wants to go from 14 to 16 schools.  Multiple sources from in and around the college athletics industry have told that Big Ten representatives have spoken with representatives from Virginia and Georgia Tech.  No one has admitted that publicly, of course, but no one from Maryland or Rutgers acknowledged they were contemplating a move, either.

After adding the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins, Delany said his league was “inactive but alert” regarding future moves.  Last week he tried to explain just what “inactive but alert” really means:


“Someone said monitoring the landscape was a passive process, it wasn’t descriptive.  The fact of it is we were ‘inactive’ and ‘not alert’ for 22 years as we had 11 members then we announced we were going to (expand) and that was a circus for months and months and upset a lot of people.

We thought there was more risk in the status quo than in change, so we acted (adding Maryland and Rutgers).

The question is: Where are you?  We’re ‘inactive,’ but is ‘alert’ different than ‘monitoring the landscape?’ I don’t know, I can’t make a qualitative difference. We study it and keep our eyes and ears attuned to what’s happening in the real world. We’re focusing on other things (than expansion) right now — focusing on integrating Rutgers and Maryland into the league.”


Not sure about you, but to this writer it sounds like Delany’s got a plan and knows that eventually he’ll be putting that plan into place.  Whether that means Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Duke or more enter the Big Ten is anyone’s guess.  But the league’s commissioner certainly isn’t closing the door on further expansion.



Don't believe a word Delaney says about being "inactive". The realignment game is at full tilt. If you remember watching Survivor years ago, once the unexpected blindsides occurred everyone became paranoid and lacked trust. Well, the Maryland and Rutgers blindside by the Big Ten did just that to everyone. The public was aware of Colorado, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and Missouri. The public won't be aware except by mistake anymore. Can anyone figure out why the SEC Network has been so quiet recently?


Maybe they could call the divisions the "Underachiever" and "Overextended" for their old and new teams.


According to another story I read, he also discussed renaming the divisions.  Reportedly, he said "If [the divisions] are not geographic, we are not going to have geographic names."  I just don't see why that would be a problem for a soon-to-be 14 team conference that calls itself the Big Ten.


As a side note..  Anyone who complains that the expansion process has been so secretive through all this should read Delaney's comments about the first round of expansion.  They started that round about as public as anyone could expect and all hell broke lose. 


There are two questions that sits in the back of my head regarding the whole Big Ten land grab. I can understand why Maryland needed to be out in front on a move from the ACC. One, it has appeared that they had one foot out the door to the B1G for several years. Two - if the B1G and SEC had their short list of schools, Maryland probably was not on that list. So if large scale re-alignment happened, Maryland could have been left behind in a weaken conference (think UConn and Cincy right now). So Maryland had to pull a Colorado and jump first, or there might not have been a place to jump to in a year if the ACC fell apart. My two question are why Rutgers? and why did Maryland not have an ACC dance partner? Rutgers was not going anywhere, and they really don't bring the NYC market or every conference, including the PAC, would have been fighting over them. If Rutgers was really that valuable, they would not have been left behind in the Big East in all of the previous raids. So it was clear that this was a Big Ten expansion into the eastern seaboard, and DC/Baltimore TV markets. I think the reason why the Big Ten took Rutgers was because Maryland had no one within the ACC that wanted to join the B1G, right now. Knowing that if the Big Ten could land other ACC schools, Maryland would have been left behind in the ACC. Face it, when was the last time anyone discussed Maryland and the SEC. The school was on the Others list that John put together several years ago. So what if the ACC is more stable that it seems? If ESPN is willing to launch a cable network and bind the schools together and prevent losing inventory and TV markets to Fox and NBC, then the conference could stabilize. Face it, with the TV markets that the ACC footprint has, There is no reason that they should not have a top tiered TV package. In the end, the B1G might be left with some New Jearsey egg, and Blue Crab on it's face.


So the loud mouth big 10 commish added maryland, rutgers and now wants virginia and g-tech...let him have them..yes they are nice tv markets, but from a football standpoint which is what drives all the moves it seems pretty lame to me...rutgers is a flash in the pan team...maryland,virgina days have long since past...good luck



 Probably because Slive knows what's coming (or close to it) and simply has to negotiate what the terms are when the SEC expands beyond 14 members.  Then wait until the Maryland situation sets the final exit fee, let Delaney grab the schools which wouldn't come to the SEC under any circumstances (UVA, GT, UNC, Duke), welcome VT and NCST with open arms, then sit back (bourbon and cigar in hand) and watch the cash roll in.


 @HoustonVol I think the jury is still out on whether or not Rutgers delivers NYC for the B1G.  Note, that is a different question than if they would deliver NYC for any other conference.  I think there are a lot of alumni from existing B1G in NYC in a way that may not be true of other conferences.  You know that population "loss" from the Midwest?  ("Loss" is in quotes because it really isn't losing population but not growing as fast as other places, but that's another story.)  A lot of the people leaving the Midwest are moving to places like Baltimore, DC, Philly, and...  NYC.  Rutgers gives the B1G a critical mass to build other alumni on top of to build a following for the network. 


 @Quidam65  @AndrewMartin 

Thing is, from the Expansion article (Part 4), many are saying the SEC shouldn't wait on the B1G to act 1st & try to grab who they can (like Duke & UNC).  VA & (to some degree GT) were also tossed around, but more if the SEC/ACC merge into 1 big conference to prevent any other conference expanding in this geographical direction.


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