And here's a current article accurately summarizing the state of affairs this July.
Big Ten unlikely to expand in wake of ACC's acquisitions
Plain Dealer Reporter
Columbus - The Big Ten triggered the last round of widespread conference expansion in the 1990s, but it is apparently content to observe what transpires nationally in the wake of Miami's and Virginia Tech's departure from the Big East.
The explanation for both plans of attack - the Big Ten standing pat and the Big East's top football schools abdicating for the Atlantic Coast Conference - is what increasingly drives every decision in collegiate sports: Money.
The ACC is counting on its move to 11 schools, and an almost-certain future jump to 12, to pad its members' pockets. The Big Ten believes it can make more for each of its institution by remaining at 11.
The only qualifier to the Big Ten's philosophy would involve a change of heart by Notre Dame, which turned down the Big Ten's expansion offer in 1999. Should the Irish suddenly want to come aboard, then the Big Ten might expand to 12 schools, although a con ference championship game in football still wouldn't be a lock.
That's what the ACC is counting on to make its expansion economically feasible. With Miami and Virginia Tech aboard, and with perhaps Louisville next to join, look for the ACC to soon add a conference championship game in football and hopefully pull down an additional $7-$10 million to divide among its members.
The Big Ten has no interest in such a title game, since it flirts too overtly with the move toward a national championship playoff. The conference has staunchly opposed a playoff every time it's proposed, standing behind the argument that it unfairly com promises players' academics and cheapens the regular season.
"I don't want to do anything to take away from the Ohio State- Michigan game," Ohio State Athletic Director Andy Geiger said. "If we have a conference championship game in the Big Ten, then that game becomes secondary to what comes after it." Likewise, Geiger isn't convinced the income from a title game would offset the division of profits that would occur should the Big Ten expand to 12 teams. Schools currently split all bowl revenue with the conference of fice.
Adding a 12th team brings another hungry mouth to the money table and could cut into the revenues schools currently share. "We don't have a reason to ex pand," Geiger said. "We're not in terested in a conference champi onship game, so economically, it doesn't make sense to expand. Why divide everything by 12 when you can divide by 11?"
The Big Ten's ideal expansion candidate would therefore have to add more revenue than it would subtract by reducing each member's share through the divi sion of profits.
Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Mis souri - teams most frequently mentioned as likely expansion candidates - would not accom plish that, since the Big Ten already intrudes into those television markets.
ESPN and ABC, the Big Ten's current television partners, would have no reason to increase their royalties to the conference unless a 12th member would turn on more TV sets and thereby increase ratings.
Only Notre Dame would accomplish that, and the Irish have no incentive to take a piece of the Big Ten's TV money as long as the Fighting Irish can keep all of their own football television rev enue through an exclusive home- game agreement with NBC.
Wounds still run deep in the Big Ten over Notre Dame's public jilting of the conference's ex pansion offer four years ago. So, it's every bit as doubtful the Big Ten would risk further national embarrassment by courting the Irish again.
Penn State announced in 1990 that it would make that jump to the Big Ten in 1993, triggering a wave of movement in leagues around the country. The Southeastern Conference lured South Carolina and Arkan sas later in 1990 and instituted the first post-season football championship game. The Big Eight became the Big 12 in 1996 when it pulled Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Bay lor from the Southwest Confer ence, assuring its demise.
"Every three or four years, we've looked at it," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said of ex pansion in the Chicago Tribune. "We looked at it immediately after the Penn State situation. We looked at it again in the mid dle '90s and the later '90s. "The only time we really moved off center was when we approached Notre Dame on sort of an all-sports basis, and they decided not to [join the Big Ten]. I don't expect that we would do that again."
Things could change if NBC doesn't renew its contract with Notre Dame after the 2005 sea son, although that's unlikely with the Irish on the upswing under head coach Tyrone Willingham. Even if NBC dumped Notre Dame, there's no guarantee an other network wouldn't step in to make staying independent viable for the Fighting Irish.
The Bowl Championship Series contract also expires following the 2005 season, so there's a chance the playoff issue will be revisited for the 2006 season. Should one be instituted, that would further reduce the Big Ten's reasons for adding Notre Dame or any other school, be cause the league would certainly command an automatic berth in a playoff even as small as eight teams.
"I think the overriding opinion is that we don't need expansion, and I feel the same way," OSU football coach Jim Tressel told the Detroit News. "We have a great product. No one has more people at their games. No one has more TV sets on. The Big Ten is healthy and feels very good about the academic institutions that make up the league and just everything about it."
To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
© 2003 The Plain Dealer. Used with permission.
Last edited by javaman on Thu Jul 03, 2003 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.