11:04 p.m. update
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany e-mailed conference officials Tuesday to stamp out a rumor that four schools had already been offered a chance to join the league.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed Tuesday that Delany had quashed a report that the Big Ten had offered expansion spots to Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers.
Asked if there was anything to that speculation, Smith said, “Nothing. There’s no truth to it whatsoever. Actually, Jim sent us all an e-mail telling us there’s no truth to that – which we knew. There’s no extensions of offers that have been made, so that’s not true.”
The conference is looking at expanding from its current 11 members so that it can extend the reach of its lucrative cable network and add a league championship game in football.
This has taken off quickly. Much more quickly than the 12-18 month time table put forth by the Big Ten commissioner in an interview a couple weeks back.
Sports Radio 810 in Kansas City reported Monday that the Big Ten had made offers to Nebraska, Missouri, Notre Dame and potentially Rutgers to join its ranks. That report set off a handful of denials today. Nebraska’s Chancellor and Rutgers’ AD have both denied the initial report and Big 12 commissioner Dan Bebee said he hasn’t heard anything from Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.
Here’s a recap of the report and the denials from Sporting News and a video from ESPN’s Pat Forde.
The most recent buzz about Big Ten expansion allows for an opportunity to look more at what other conferences are thinking of doing should all this happen. Here’s a few links worth reading if you want to get up to speed on all the potential expansion talks.
What NFL Draft? Were there spring games (outside of Alabama)? Were there any other news stories? Every radio interview and every sports conversation I’ve had over the last few weeks surrounds the one hot topic on every college football fan’s mind … expansion and realignment.
The Big Ten sure has thrown the world into a tizzy.
I’ve been wanting to do an ASK CFN for weeks, but almost every question has been about what’s about to happen to the alignment of the college football world. Here are some of the main questions that touch on what everyone is asking about, along with some thoughts about what’s probably going to happen.
Now, for the latest installment of college football expansion: Big Ten speculation continues to grow, the ACC says it will be ready, and where does Arkansas go?
First, the Big Ten, of course. A radio station reported yesterday afternoon that the Big Ten had extended initial offers to Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers and Notre Dame, sending the Internets into mass hysteria. Within an hour, the report was picked up on blogs, Twitter and every other form of media. Within two hours, Nebraska, Missouri, Rutgers and the Big Ten had issued statements denying the report. Notre Dame said it stood behind the most recent comments from AD Jack Swarbrick, who has maintained the Irish want to keep their independence.
While the Big Ten and Pac-10 conferences continue to explore expansion options, Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said here on Monday that his league will have a plan in place should major conference expansion and realignment alter the college athletics landscape.
About the possibility of major conference realignment, which could possibly affect the ACC, Swofford told the Orlando Sentinel, “I don’t think any conference would be doing its due diligence if you stuck your head in the sand, so to speak. And we will not do that.”
Swofford was speaking between conversations with officials at the ACC’s annual spring meetings, which began Monday morning and conclude on Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton’s oceanfront resort. Officials from the league office and the ACC’s athletic directors, football and basketball coaches convened here amid an atmosphere of uncertainty unmatched in recent times.
Although Big Ten officials continue to say that plans for expansion are not in the works for another year or more, I would not be surprised to see this happen sooner. Reports are coming too fast and too often for something not to be going on behind the scenes. And make no mistake, expansion in the Big Ten will impact the ACC. It’s tough to say exactly how at this point, but it would change things. The SEC would come calling and there are ACC teams who would likely listen to offers. Swofford better not be kidding with his “head in the sand” comment or the ACC could be left out in the cold.