Big Ten Meetings Recap: November Date, Notre Dame and a History Lesson
The Big Ten meetings had plenty of hype going into them as many thought the world would get their first glimpse into the Big Ten expansion plans. And a glimpse is what we got. What we got from Jim Delany today was a reaffirmation that the Big Ten will continue with their study and won’t have any invitations extended until after November.
Based on what we’ve already seen from the Big Ten, the plan makes plenty of sense as there is no need to rush a decision on how to progress.
After listening to Delaney address the media, there are some other points we might be able to walk away with.
Based on the language Delaney used in regards to Notre Dame and their independence, it seems very unlikely that Notre Dame will be a Big Ten member. Delany seemed very much content that the Big Ten will not explore that path unless Notre Dame were to approach the Big Ten. and to clarify, Delany had nothing but positive things to say about Notre Dame.
Advanced Conference Realignment Graduate Course by Professor Delany:
Delany mentioned that the Big Ten has always studied expansion. But one of the more interesting parts (boring to some) was his breakdown of the conference realignment moves over the past 20 years, citing that there have been 71 changes in FBS football and 252 changes in all of Division 1 over the past two decades. Delaney seemed to reference a great number of conference changes over the time-frame, such as South Carolina leaving the ACC, GA Tech joining the ACC, the various VA Tech moves, and Boston College. Delany also gave us the answer to a trivia question: What are the only 3 conferences to have the same membership over the past 20 years? Answer: Pac-10, Ivy and 1 more. Can you name it? If you can you’ll get a “Pass” grade for the Conference Realignment Graduate Course. Answer is below for you cheaters.
Big Ten Expansion or a Bruce Springsteen Song?
Perhaps the one area of knowledge that nobody planned on hearing about in regards to Big Ten expansion and the conference meetings this week was the role of demographics in the expansion criteria. Both Delany and Iowa AD Gary Barta have made reference to some of the demographic info they’ve looked into. The point both have made was that much of the once population dense region that encompass the Big Ten footprint, have migrated to the south and the Sunbelt states. While the alumni base is still huge in the Big Ten markets, the point was that these population trends continue. You’d think you were listening to the lyrics from a Bruce Springsteen song as they’d described how jobs and people were leaving the Rust Belt for the Sun Belt.
Such a topic can lead us to believe that the Big Ten is considering this factor and could potentially expand to the South. Texas and Texas A&M; remain the crown jewel, but have not lead anyone to believe that they’d be interested in leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten. Texas has it’s eyes set on launching their own Longhorn Network at some point, a scenario in which they would not need to split the revenue pot with every conference member.
So walking away from the meetings, the safest assumptions thus far are that the Big Ten will wait until November to make any moves. At that time, we can expect Notre Dame to be out of the equation and the same names that were on the initial candidate list will be the primary targets.
And the answer to the Conference Realignment History question? It’s the WCC.