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?
Big 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 MrSEC.com 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.