Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Need To Know -- Delany And Big Ten Expansion
So here is Jim Delany, the most powerful man in college sports, playing with the space-time continuum of Big Ten expansion.
You thought he was after Notre Dame, East Coast markets, a mega-gazillion-dollar conference football championship game.
Instead, the Big Ten commissioner wants a more lucrative Big Ten TV Network and wants to tap into the population growth of Sun Belt states.Doing so, he said, means expansion, but only after a comprehensive analysis. The Big Ten is five months into its 12-to-18-month timetable. There is much to do, much to consider.
Nothing will happen during this week’s conference officials meeting in Chicago, he said. Nothing will happen when conference presidents gather next month. No invitations. No votes. Nada.
When will it happen?
That, it seems, is the mystery.
Delany said the Sun Belt population growth is “four times the rate of the East or the Midwest.” In 20 years the ramifications will be enormous and the Big Ten wants to benefit from that. That suggests getting some Sun Belt-based schools into the Big Ten.
So that leads to the obvious question –- What the hell is Delany thinking?
Sorry. The obvious question is what are the Sun Belt states?
The obvious answer is Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Texas.
Figure California, New Mexico and Nevada are out. For the remaining states, those schools that are members of the Association of American Universities (all the Big Ten universities belong) will get priority.
In other words, Big Ten schools want the “right fit” academically as well as athletically.
The names spun out of the rumor mill are Texas, Notre Dame, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Nebraska and Rutgers.
Only Texas is in the Sun Belt.
So what does this mean?
As Indiana football coach Bill Lynch has said, Delany “let’s us know what we need to know.”
So what do we need to know?
All in good time.