Getting Krunk on Expansion News (or Lack Thereof)

Ah, I love the smell of napalm and crushed Big Ten expansion dreams in the morning.  Judging by the over 1000 comments to last week’s post (a record number for the blog), we’re all exasperated that Jim Delany and the Big Ten have at least publicly stated that they will stick to original timetable of 12-18 months to examine expansion candidates.  This is certainly a fascinating topic, but Lord help me if I’m still speculating12 months from now about who the Big Ten will be adding.  At that point, I’d rather be speculating about… Big East expansion!  Let’s get to my thoughts on last week’s events:

(1) You lie!!! – In all seriousness, I’m not one of those people that subscribe to conspiracy theories and break every conference official comment down like the Zapruder film.  However, if there’s one thing that needs to be beaten into people’s heads after this past week, it’s this: TRUST NO ONE.  The various of lists of 5 and 15 candidates that the Big Ten leaked and every public comment that has been uttered mean nothing to me at this point.  The one reporter that seemed to actually have a decent clue as to what was going on in the Big Ten expansion story, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, appeared to get solid information that the conference was fast-tracking adding new schools and then had to make a complete retraction a couple days later.  If Greenstein is getting played by the Big Ten, then every other reporter is getting played, as well.  I’ve received info from credible people that Texas and Notre Dame are definitely still in legitimate play for the Big Ten and other info that the conference has moved on regarding both of them.  Commenters have posted information suggesting that Maryland preemptively nixed any consideration for Big Ten membership and that Northwestern’s president revealed to a sorority that the conference had actually made a decision as to who it was inviting.  Tom Shatel, one of the Nebraska beat writers at the Omaha World-Herald, shared his frustration that people he trusted last week that stated that the Cornhuskers weren’t part of the Big Ten expansion talks are now saying that the school is definitely in the mix.  It’s impossible to parse through what’s true or false in all of this.

At this point, there is no combination of Notre Dame and/or any Big East and/or Big 12 schools that are AAU members that would surprise me.  If the Big Ten announces in June 2011 that it’s adding Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers, I wouldn’t flinch.  If the Big Ten announces in 2 weeks that it’s adding Texas, Texas A&M and Notre Dame, it wouldn’t faze me at all.  It’s all fair game at this point.  The leaks so far have been so contradictory that we’re all better off assuming that they’re red herrings.  There’s a plan out there that might be way more aggressive than even the Super Death Star Conference that I’ve brought up or it could very well be a conservative addition of a geographically contiguous school or 3 purely for households.  No one except for Jim Delany and the Big Ten university presidents knows WTF is going on.

Of course, we’ll still have fun pouncing on every leak and rumor in the meantime.

(2) Backdoor meetings are where it’s at – Some commenters astutely noted that Jim Delany isn’t going to call a press conference one day and say, “I’ve just informed the Big East and Big XII that they need to bend over and assume the position.”  If and when Delany talks to his fellow commissioners, it’s going to be private and it’s likely such commissioners would want to keep it that way so they can start planning for their own raids of leagues like the Mountain West and Conference USA.  Delany would certainly not want anything to do with speaking about anything substantive with the feeding frenzy of the media horde gathered at the BCS meetings last week.  This seems like such a simple and logical concept, yet in a world where we’re craving information on this subject, we’re dying for any type of official statement of a go-ahead.

(3) Time is on the Big Ten’s side – I really doubt the Big Ten is going to take the full 12-18 months to examine this expansion issue.  That’s just my gut feeling as the university presidents likely wouldn’t be able to stomach having this story hanging over their heads in the press for such a long period of time.  It could very well be the case that the Big Ten’s university presidents know how they want to proceed and that they simply didn’t want Delany to inform the Big 12 and/or Big East commissioners of the Big Ten’s targets at the media-filled BCS meetings.  Honestly, I don’t know what could be taking so long unless the Big Ten is vetting every single possibility with the two schools that matter the most: Notre Dame and Texas.  Those are certainly two schools worth waiting for if the Big Ten believes that either of them would be willing to join.  Every single other school in the Big East and Big XII would leap toward Big Ten membership, so if the Big Ten was solely targeting non-Notre Dame/Texas schools, this could’ve been wrapped up weeks ago.

(4) Big East being “proactive” by “hiring” Paul Tagliabue and expanding to Jacksonville – As Brian Cook of Sporting News and mgoblog (not the former Illini quasi-great) stated, “Soviet Big East Raids You!”  (I’m not going to lie – I could keep myself entertained making up Yakov Smirnoff-isms for hours at a time.)  On paper, it sounds like a massive coup that former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been tapped as a strategist for the Big East.  He’s actually providing his services pro bono because he has a very direct interest in how all of this plays out as Chairman of the Board of the Directors at Georgetown.  What does this mean?  Well, if Tagliabue has anything to do with it, the hybrid format of the conference will continue on into perpetuity.  Georgetown would be severely damaged if the Big East split up and one of his tasks will be to ensure that doesn’t happen.  If the Big East were to lose multiple schools, he has the gravitas to tell schools that might be ready to split (i.e. Louisville) that the hybrid is still the revenue maximization model for the conference.  The Big East football schools might not trust anything that the Big East office says anymore, but if the former commissioner of the NFL says that ESPN will still pay a lot more money for a hybrid league than a split league, then that’s going to carry a lot of weight.  As a DePaul law grad, though, I really hope that Tagliabue doesn’t decide that the Big East would be better off skipping the Los Angeles market in favor of the next municipality that whores itself with a taxpayer-financed stadium.

Honestly, there is absolutely nothing “proactive” that the Big East can do at this point to prevent a member from leaving for the Big Ten.  Even if the Big East could somehow create a new TV network that could generate large amounts of cash, there’s no way that could be up and running even if the Big Ten takes the maximum amount of time to complete its expansion process.

Of course, Tagliabue unintentionally torpedoed the prospect of the Big East ever creating its own network by dumping on the thought that the Big Ten adding schools in the New York area would deliver homes for the Big Ten Network by saying the following:

“One of the real challenges for the networks is to provide value, but you only provide value in markets where you provide traction,” he said. “Is Minnesota and Rutgers going to get a big rating on Long Island? Give me a break. Every game isn’t Michigan and Michigan State.” He added, “Am I going to rush home from a tennis game on Saturday to watch Minnesota and Rutgers if I live on Long Island?”

Now, I’m not exactly a favorite person with the Rutgers message board crowd, but I’ve got to defend the school here.  WTF was Tagliabue doing completely ripping apart a current member of the Big East when his job is to presumably keep the conference intact?  Maybe he was suggesting that Midwestern schools like Minnesota wouldn’t exactly attract the Long Island tennis club crowd, which is likely true, yet that’s quite a disingenuous statement coming from someone representing a league that includes Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati (who don’t conjure up images of summer parties in the Hamptons).  In fact, the highly-rated 2006 Rutgers game where the Empire State Building was lit up in scarlet red was against Louisville as opposed to an Eastern school, which goes to show you that New Yorkers simply want to watch good teams play other good teams regardless of geographic location.  If I were a Rutgers fan, I don’t know how I could deal with someone in a leadership position in the Big East saying that about my school.  At worst, it was a complete cheap shot and at best, it came off extremely wrong with logic that didn’t follow considering that the Big East isn’t a purely Northeastern football league anymore.

(5) ESS – EEE – SEE SPEEEED! – SEC Commissioner Mike Slive articulated the real reason for expansion: it’s a high stakes pissing contest to see who can lay claim to the “Bad Motherfucker” wallet.  More than anyone, there’s kind of this lingering assumption that if the Big Ten expands to 16 schools, then the SEC MUST respond because it simply can’t handle not being the biggest (and therefore, the best).

Frankly, this line of thinking doesn’t make sense to me at all.  I know a lot of fairly knowledgeable people are convinced that we’re going to end up with 4 16-team superconferences after everything shakes out, yet too many people seem to forget that every single conference other than the Big Ten doesn’t have a financial vehicle like the Big Ten Network that would make it financially viable to perform such a large-scale expansion.  The Big Ten isn’t expanding just to expand – it’s looking to maximize the per-school payout for each of its members.  All of the other conferences are going to do the same and I fail to see how any of them would be able to make it a profitable venture to expand beyond 12 without its own conference network.  Heck, even the Big Ten isn’t guaranteed a windfall by going beyond 12 schools (even though it at least has an argument with the Big Ten Network).

In the case of the SEC, there are very few schools that make sense for it in terms of expansion at all.  I see names thrown around like Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson, but all of them would be duplicate teams in markets that the SEC already owns.  There’s very little point in the SEC adding more schools within its current footprint.  In fact, there are only two markets that would add value to the SEC:  Texas and North Carolina.  The problem is that in order to obtain those markets, it would need to try to add the University of Texas and UNC, both of whom would likely completely shun the SEC due to academic reasons.  Throughout this process, I’ve corresponded with many Texas alums (NOT the T-shirt fans that just care about football) and they’re pretty much unanimous in stating that the UT administration will NEVER entertain any thought of joining the SEC.  It cannot be underestimated how much the academically-minded administrators at Texas loathe the thought of the SEC.  I think about this every time I see a columnist wrongly assume that “Texas = South” and therefore “Texas = SEC”, when in reality UT likens itself to be more like Berkeley or Michigan as opposed to any of the SEC schools.  UNC is even more snobby with respect to academics and the Tar Heels have emotional ties to the ACC that go far beyond what Texas has with the Big XII.  So, the chances of the SEC adding either of those schools is between slim and none.  Without them, there aren’t any other worthy markets in the South that the SEC hasn’t already covered.

(6) Why is this topic addictive? – A number of commenters have been wondering about why this expansion topic is so fascinating.  As someone that had been writing this blog for 5 years about a variety of subjects and didn’t focus on conference realignment until the last few months, I’ve also been thinking about how I got hooked on it.  At least for me, I’ve always enjoyed writing about big-picture movements in the sports world and you really can’t get much more big-picture than power schools switching conferences.  Could you imagine if the Yankees and Red Sox approached the Cubs and Dodgers to join the AL East in order to form a super-division of all of baseball’s most popular teams?  (Please note that as a die-hard White Sox fan, it pains me to admit how popular the Cubs are and will likely always be.  I take solace in the fact that they’re paying $19 million to an 8th-inning setup guy.)  Well, the equivalent isn’t just possible in college sports, but it’s happened numerous times.  Within the past 20 years, Penn State joined the Big Ten, Miami joined the Big East and then later switched to the ACC and Texas helped form the Big XII and could be on the move again.

Let’s face it, though: this is like crack-cocaine to the sports blogging world.  As regular commenter allthatyoucanleavebehind noted, it’s a lot more fun to talk about expanding with schools like Syracuse and Rutgers (or really anyone other than the massive players like Texas, Notre Dame and Nebraska) than to actually have to play them when expansion finally occurs.  Once the Big Ten actually makes an announcement regarding expansion, we won’t have a quick fix of speculative blogging material anymore… at least until we start talking about Big XII expansion.

At that point, all I’ll want to do is to rush home from my tennis match to catch the Illinois vs. Rutgers game.

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111)

(Image from Retecool)


990 thoughts on “Getting Krunk on Expansion News (or Lack Thereof)

  1. Scott C

    Great post, Frank. I couldn’t agree with you more on #1. It seems to me that either every college football writer in America is trying to appear like they have inside information or the Big Ten has the most sophisticated system for leaking fake information just to keep us groveling for more. I don’t know how much longer I can take it, but I’m sure I’ll be following it until I find out what happens to my Huskers.


    1. Justin

      I think the most likely outcome, if ND is out, is the Big 10 adds the following five schools

      Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Nebraska, Missouri

      All five of these institutions are AAU schools and would jump to the Big 10 without a second thought.

      In fact, these institutions, with the exception of Pitt, have had officials publicly make known their interest in the conference. I think this is also the “safest” expansion model for the Big 10 because by taking 2 from the Big 12 and 3 from the Big East, it cannot be accused of single-handedly destroying one conference. Insted, by taking schools for its Eastern and Western flank, and having each of the schools bring along a “travel partner” it will be easier to integrate these schools and their fanbases into the Big 10.

      I think fourteen teams is out. The Big 10 expanded twenty years ago, and nothing has changed yet. I doubt they are going to revist another two team expansion in 5-7 years. They will make their move now, and be done with it. That has to be their pitch to ND, and if ND says no, the Big 10 cannot vacillate, it has to move on.

      So how would the pods look?

      Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse

      Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri

      Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue

      Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan St, Northwestern

      Synopsis: The pods break down nicely. The only school that is an awkward geographic fit is Northwestern, but the Cats, who struggle for attendance, won’t fight too much about being in a different division from Illinois if they et annual dates with UM and OSU.

      End of season rivals?
      UM – OSU
      Pitt – PSU
      Syracuse – Rutgers
      Iowa – Nebraska
      Wisconsin – Minnesota
      Indiana – Purdue
      Illinois – Missouri
      N’wstrn – Michigan State (this is by process of elimination).

      Imagine this last weekend of Big 10 play every Thanksgiving weekend

      Thanksgiving – Penn State vs. Pitt
      Friday – Nebraska vs. Iowa
      Saturday – UM vs. OSU

      I see the Big 10 pushing to allow it to stage conference semifinals and then a conference title game. The Eastern division of PSU-RU-SU-Pitt should generate interest in NYC, and firm up support on Jersey and Pennsylvania.

      The Big 10 footprint would now include solid markets such as Buffalo, Kansas City, St. Louis, Newartk, Philadelphia and eventually, NYC.

      This would also bolster the basketball conference as Pitt and Syracuse are top 10 caliber programs, and Missouri has been on the rise under Mike Anderson.

      I think the Big 10 cannot go to 14 and leave the impression that the invite is there for ND for perpetuity. At some point, you have to move on. I see the Big 10 going to 16 — but that means they’ll go East and West — NYC is a critical part of the strategy which is why Syracuse and Rutgers are both “locks” IMO.


      1. mushroomgod

        I would personally substitute KU or U Conn for Syracuse as the 5th team in a 5 team scenerio. That said, Syracuse might be the most likely choice.

        In any event, I think a 3 team expansion is most likely.

        If you think of schools as academic and athletic packages or products,which is the way Big 10 presidents will think, the 5 you mentioned would all be less “valuable” than UM, OSU, PSU, Wis, Ill., Minnesota, MSU, NW.

        I think it terms of overall “value” these 5 would be in the same range as Purdue, IU, and Iowa.

        So… you REALLY want to add 5 schools whose average overall value is comparable to the least valuable Big 10 schools? Probably not. At most, you add 3, and await developments.

        I think the most likely scenerio is RU, Pitt, and either Mo or Nebraska.


      2. Vincent

        I think the most likely outcome, if ND is out, is the Big 10 adds the following five schools

        Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Nebraska, Missouri

        All five of these institutions are AAU schools and would jump to the Big 10 without a second thought.

        Makes sense, although I sense if Maryland expressed interest, it would get the nod over Pitt because it would give the Big Ten two new markets (one of which is particularly affluent), whereas Pitt provides no new markets.


        1. duffman


          I like your thinking, but I would switch Pitt for Syracuse, and add Maryland.. I do not know why, as I was not originally on the Pitt bandwagon, but they are growing on me.. and they appear closer to PSU and Maryland.

          I know Pitt does not add markets, but it just seems like a better fit.. totally a judgement call


  2. c

    Re Frank

    Another great summary post.

    Seriously I was going to ask if I could change my poster name to “confused”.

    Your prior blog post attempted to answer an important FACTUAL question: the “value” of expansion candidates based on Patrick’s estimates of revenues for subscribers versus advertising, which was followed by conclusions you drew from his numbers.

    A number of posters (including Shawn Corbett and omnicarrier) questioned the numbers.

    I wonder if you and Patrick could provide a follow-up SUMMARY as to your assesment of the status of the estimates, the knowns and unknowns, differences in methodology or sources that might explain or clarify why others came up with significantly different estimates and in short do you stand by the conclusions you initially posted.

    Additionally if there is such a summary post, perhaps it could be in its separate blog where follow-up posts would be limited to comments focusing on the numbers or conclusions and not get buried with comments on other aspects of the expansion.

    Again my purpose is not to question Patrick’s numbers or your conclusions but clarify where they stand based on the comments of posters.


    1. @c – I believe that’s a good idea. I’ll try to hook up with Patrick to provide a summary on the methodology for calculating the various figures and taking into account the feedback others have provided.


    2. Patrick


      I will try to answer your post, tomorrow, up here at the top. Honestly, there are I few items that Frank, Omni and Shawn brought up that I had not thought of. If I reran the numbers now, I might do some things different. All I was trying to do was estimate, from television perspective, a rough idea of value. I’ll give more context tomorrow. It’s fine to question the numbers…. I do. PS – I’ll post up top here. LOL


      1. c

        Re clarification of revenue estimates and value based on comments (Patrick and Frank)

        1) Thanks for your efforts to try to provide a glimpse at what the subscriber and advertising components of the Big 10 channel might look like in order to better understand at least one of the criteria that may influence expansion targets and strategies.

        Clearly if ND and Texas are invoved, that will shape the expansion. If they are not involved what then?

        2) Beyond the Big 10 channel, I also wonder to what extent an eastern expansion including RU or SU or UConn or Pitt or a package of 2 or more of these schools might benefit the Big 10 TV contract in terms of expanding markets and revenue in contrast to a midwest expansion including Nebrska or Missouri or Kansas or a combination of schools.

        3) I am also interested in regional packages of 2 or more schools from the perspective of whether there might be synergy (adding value) that might be significant in contrast to an analysis that focuses exclusively on single schools alone.

        4) Beyond the numbers, there are obviously many unknowns about the benefit and synergy of combining Big 10 teams with new regional schools.

        However I am also curious what the potential UPSIDE might be when comparing an expansion strategy focusing east vs west vs a combination of east-west, by comparing current estimates vs potential estimates 5 years hence assuming market penetration.

        5) And then there are the unknowns of how the various teams might evolve over a 5 year period. By way of example Louisville, Cinn, USF, UConn all had very little visibility when they joined the Big East a few years ago. Yet despite ups and downs, my impression is that all have invested in their programs and with success on the field and greater media coverage (and new coaches at USF and Louisville) have become much more valuable to the Big East conference then anyone could have guessed. (The Big East had uniquely bad timing in negotiating their TV contract after losing Miami and VT).

        The ACC in gaining Miami and VT saw a significant increase in their TV deal (good timing) yet during this period both Miami and FSU have been mid-tier teams and the ACC is said to be having a more difficult time in their current negotiations. (I personally believe Miami and FSU are on their way back.)

        I guess I start with the concept of markets and the view it’s a lot easier to build a great football team than build a great university within that market.

        6) I also consider certain schools like Texas and ND to be national schools that appeal beyond limited regions. They would obviously be the primary targets for the Big 10 if they are interested.

        In your prior post you provided estimates for Texas but I would think they need to be analysed not as a single add but as a package with Texas A&M.

        On a lesser scale, I would consider Nebraska to be a national program in football and SU and Kansas as major Basketball programs.

        The real question applies to the second tier schools often noted as more likely candidates and how these schools alone or as a package might enhance revenue over a period of 5 years and beyond.

        7) conclusion:

        I absolutely don’t expect numerical “answers” to these questions, but I do think these are perhaps some of the considerations that may be important for candidate schools not named Texas and ND.


        1. Rick

          This is a good point. What would various packages look like on a table vs others:

          Package 1: Neb/Mizz/Kansas
          Package 2: Neb/Mizz/Pitt
          Package 3: Neb/Mizz/Syr
          Package 4: Neb/Mizz/RU
          Package 5: Neb/RU/Pitt
          Package 6: Neb/RU/Syr
          and so on….The same could be done for 16 teams.

          Add in packages with ND, Tx, TAM


          1. c

            Re packages and analysis (Rick)

            Of course after all the reports and analysis, the Presidents may well decide on the basis of affinity or geography or who they want as partner schools or who knows what or make an unlikely compromise to reach agreement and they may well be correct in so doing.


        2. Patrick

          c, sorry about the delays in my responses. This week has been very busy for me. I’ll get right to some answers.

          1) Frank may think differently, but I don’t think you NEED Texas or ND. I think you want Texas and would like to have ND, but begging is not going to happen and they bring nothing on the research side. From what I have seen, even beyond my initial assessment, the BTN will make money hand over fist with quality additions. In short, I think PITT would make money for the BTN (not as much as ND, but not as drastically different as you’d think) and I think the presidents are much more comfortable with PITT anyway.

          2) I’m not sure it really makes a huge difference revenue-wise if they take Kansas or Syracuse or Pitt or Missouri. It appears they will make money with MOST of the schools mentioned.

          3) I would think that schools with built in rivalries (PITT v. Penn ST. / Missouri v. Ill.) have benifits. Also if Missouri v. Nebraska is a BIG game that has merit.

          4) I think that initial study took 5 year and 10 year potentials into consideration. I got the impression that they are looking at the BTN more like ESPN than FOX Sports Midwest. If they can make it national or nearly national, then a regional footprint it becomes more about the amount and quality of the games. IE trying to get someone in Salt Lake City to watch Syracuse v. Purdue on a Wednesday night basketball.

          5) Nationally, if you are talking about traditions, winning, and fan bases you need to go with long term players. While it’s nice Louisville has had some great years they have nowhere near the national alumni support or fan base as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame etc. While you can build a football program, the big boys will have more solid and devoted fan bases… and I believe they are looking NATIONAL not regional.

          7)I think that the BT presidents have many choices with the dollars available and they will pick who they feel comfortable with. Nebraska football, PITT / Missouri both, Syracuse Basketball, Rutgers TV market. Solid R&D across, fits the BT profile. All will make money.


      2. Wes Haggard

        I too would love to see a new analysis include both Texas and A&M. I believe that my school is very interested in the Big Ten. And I am not too sure but if Frank had included a complete analysis of Texas A&M in his original points to consider, the AGS would be second place only to the Longhorns. We are rivals with Texas, no doubt, but there are only two schools to send my child. One Orange and on Maroon.


    3. Patrick

      In short, I think my numbers are a) too low; b) not nearly as accurate as I would like; c) were missing some elements that I frankly didn’t think of when doing the analysis. Some of the posters had brought up exceptional points and if I did the numbers again they would be different. Estimating data like this for tv advertising is fully dependent on buyers actually buying the advertising and paying the full rate. Anyway, let me highlight what I did.

      I started with basic facts about the schools in question. What is the current conference payout, what is the total athletic revenue, what is the total $$ spent on research, what is the total football attendence per year, where do they rank in merchandise sales. I looked at the research dollars because I assume with the CIC tht is what the Big Ten will do. Football is the big dog, so how loyal is the fan base…. how do they pack their stadium. How many hats and jerseys do they sell, if fans are loyal and buying related stuff that should translate to watching games and hopefully buying tons of rotell. The big question for me though was how much money does the athletic department make if you were to seperate out the tv contracts. I did all of this for the current Big 10 members also.

      I used Neilsen household numbers to estimate the number of new HH for markets that I attributed to any school (this could easily be questioned) Does Syracuse deliver Buffalo? Does Missouri deliver St. Louis or is it already sewn up by Illinois… etc. etc. etc. I did my level best here to be fair to each school.

      My estimations of BTN money and contracts and ad revenues were difficult because of the conflicts in reports and general reluctance of the BTN to release data. We know some facts, I had to assume or back calculate other data. I did try to lay this out in the initial post.

      I think I underestimated the amount of increased revenue by adding games and programing to the network….. MAJORLY underestimated. I gave each team a FLAT $10,000,000. But thinking about it, the BTN had about 30 FB games and maybe 40 BB games (guessing but say 70 games total), that would be the majority of their advertising revenue. The BTN made about $272 million last year if reports are correct. Say maybe 40% is from games (around 1.5 million per game) with 11 teams. Now add 5 and get to 16 teams, more conference games, more quality games, and naerly doubling the output to the BEAST. As Frank suggested maybe as many as 60 football games and 80 BB games… 140 games and good quality games. I would estimate that without adding households they may up the revenue from $272 million to about $380 million JUST on programing. $21 million per school…. not including footprint. I think omnicarrier brought up a point about FOX not actually taking 49% of the profits, and there were some payoffs that took place first. He is likely right, and that would cause me to rerun numbers.

      Not to jabber on too long, but there are many items that could have been tweaked, questioned and run differently but overall I wanted to see if the expansion made sense from a tv perspective.

      I did try scanning the other 1,000 posts but I think I am just too tired.


      1. c

        Re numbers and estimates (Patrick)

        Thanks for your update. You deserve a great deal of credit for providing a glimpse at the financial realities that may be shaping the expansion strategy.

        You deserve even greater credit for taking a second look at your numbers and estimates of value added by various expansion candidates based of some of the posts.

        As I understand your 2 recent posts:

        1) The Big 10 is likely to make significant additional dollars based on additional programming, adding to their footprint, gaining additional markets even if they don’t land targets such as Texas/Texas A&M and ND.

        2) More specifically, “the BTN will
        make money hand over fist with quality additions” including schools frequently mentioned such as Nebraska, RU, Pitt, Missouri, SU, Kansas.

        Beyond the numbers, issues of affinity will no doubt play an important role: who do the Presidents want as their partners and where do they see their best opportunities.


        1. Patrick


          Yes, that is how I see it. I think that it is a major coup if you get Texas / Texas A&M. That is your maximum money potential, but I just don’t think they will come. I think Notre Dame & Nebraska are a touch below that (tv wise) and would make big money. All of the other schools commonly metioned would earn money I believe…. just not as much as the top 4 choices. At that point I think that is is nearly a wash and they go with the acedemic and philosophical fits.


          1. c

            Re follow-up question (Patrick and Frank)

            What then is the status of the “60/40 rule”? “The BTN makes 60% from advertising revenue and 40% from carriage fees”.


  3. zeek

    Frank, I think we’ll be sitting around talking about this for a lot longer than people realize: 1-2 years.

    Any move move in the next 6-8 months is not likely to be a Big Bang move to 16 unless Texas or Notre Dame is on board.

    In the most likely scenario, the Big Ten will destabilize the Big 12 by just taking Nebraska or Missouri on as the 12 team, or being as bold as to move to 14 (2 Big 12 (Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas) + 1 Big East (Pitt/Rutgers/Syracuse) or some other scenario), and we’ll still be left debating whether the Big Ten will be able to bring on Texas and/or Notre Dame in a move to 16.

    Either way a 5 team move doesn’t seem likely unless Texas decides that it’s done with the Big 12 and wants to forgo the inevitable wait after Nebraska or Missouri leaves and instead be the driver. This is possible if Colorado makes its move over the next 2 months, but may not as obvious a move as we’d want.

    Personally, I think the discussion is barely getting started; if Colorado makes a move, your blog will probably start getting even more posts because then we’ll really be expecting a Big Ten move as inevitable.


    1. zeek

      I do have one question Frank; you mention the 12-18 month time period, but doesn’t the Pac-10 have to make a move much sooner as in by June-July, so that it can have teams in place or to show off to networks by 2012-2013?

      Won’t the Big Ten wait for the Pac-10 to destabilize the Big 12 situation and then scoop up the teams it wants (unless the Pac-10 makes a move on Texas/A&M/Nebraska)?

      It seems to me that the Big 10 will lobby Texas/Nebraska/Missouri behind the scenes but let the Pac-10 makes its move first. Is that what everyone expects or is there another angle to this?


      1. M

        This article lays out why Colorado would have to give their two-year notice to the Big XII by July 1.

        Of course, I am pretty sure I read somewhere else that the penalty for leaving the Big XII is half the tv money for 2 years or all of the tv money for 1 year.

        Either way, the deadline is either July 1 this year… or July 1 next year.


    2. allthatyoucantleavebehind

      I think 18 months will be the final “closing of the window” on this phase of Big 10 expansion. I think they’ll be looking to add 1, or 3, or 5–all at the same time. That said, I agree that they could announce two teams are invited in June. I’d say Mizzou or Nebraska (to destabilize the Big 12, as you said) and Rutgers (to destabilize the Big East). However, since they are at 13, everyone knows they aren’t done.

      (There will be plenty to talk about NEXT if this happens first.)

      A few things will happen then…
      Texas/aTm will finish exploring their options. Join Pac10? Create merged interest with PAC10? Rebuild Big12? Join Big 10?
      Once this happens, they’ll give the Big 10 their answer. Yes or no.
      Likewise, Notre Dame will explore their options. By winter 2011, they’ll also have an answer for the Big 10. Yes or no.

      The Big 10’s dream–and we all know that Delany is a dreamer–would be complete if all 5 say yes. Rutgers, ND, Texas, aTm, and Neb/or Mizzou.

      If ND only says yes and Texas schools say NO, then this phase of expansion rests at 14. A few more years of developments and two new (or maybe old (i.e. Texas schools)) candidates can be explored.

      If Texas schools say yes and ND says NO (unlikely methinks), I think a “lesser” school can be taken to finish out the conference at 16 and Notre Dame is given an eternal middle finger by the Big 10. Tattoed on that middle finger? “We’re at 16. We’re done. Hence, you’re done. Enjoy playing Navy and UConn for peanuts.”


      1. FLP_NDRox

        “Tattoed [sic] on that middle finger? ‘We’re at 16. We’re done. Hence, you’re done. Enjoy playing Navy and UConn for peanuts.'”.

        Promise? Because that wouldn’t be the first time Michigan tried that same stunt. I doubt it’ll go any better for them this time.

        You see now why ND doesn’t want in? There’s a century of animosity there. Why should the Domers trust the Big Ten?


        1. Manifesto


          ND doesn’t want in because some Big Ten fan made a statement? You’re stretching, when you know the real reason is simply because Notre Dame (and its fans/alumni) enjoys the status that comes with being the last great independent in football.

          Besides, saying you wouldn’t join a conference because one of your rivals is a part of it is silly. The Yost stuff is so long ago that I don’t think anyone can seriously care about it aside from providing a convenient excuse. No one on the institutional level is taking an anti-Catholic stance in this day and age.

          Besides, the “Michigan sucks/ND sucks” rah-rah attitude it part of having a rivalry. I know you ND boys do it too… I’ve seen plenty ND fans’ comments about USC and Michigan on other boards. 😉


          1. FLP_NDRox

            @ Manifesto

            It’s more than one fan. It’s a mentality. The speculation in the media about Delaney’s idea to expand to sixteen is for ND to treat it as, “an offer they can’t refuse.”

            Independence is quite useful to Notre Dame. It allows freedom to schedule. It is a selling point to recruits. It means we don’t hafta split the money. And that’s just off the top of my head.

            Why should ND want in? There’s a history of ‘dirty tricks’ against ND. Yost might have been “a long time ago”, but I doubt you’d forget or trust any organization that tried to kill your school’s football program.

            per NDNation: USC is a rival. Michigan is not a rival. Michigan is an enemy. There’s a difference.


          2. Manifesto


            Correction: It’s a perceived mentality. As I said in the previous thread, yes, there’s animosity there between ND and the Big Ten. But, in the long run, aside from what occurs on the field I don’t believe any Big Ten fan would seriously have issues with ND in the conference. It’s easy to be upset when you feel you’re being slighted by someone — and in this case I think both sides feel they’re being slighted. It isn’t just the big bad Big Ten kicking sand in ND’s face.

            To be honest, if Germany and France can fight two wars and patch up their differences to be BFF, I think ND fans can move on from Fielding Yost’s Michigan antics. At least WWII was more recent. 😛


          3. Scott S

            This again?

            FLP, Yost quit coaching in 1926. The year before Lindbergh flew the Atlantic. The year before the first full length “talkie” movie. That’s 84 years. Before the depression. Before the dust bowl. Before television.

            The US was attacked by Japan 15 years after Yost retired, and went to war against Germany. All has been forgiven for decades, and the US helped rebuild those economies. They’re two of our best allies for decades.

            Since then, the US was involved in a long, bitter war in Vietnam. The war has been over for 35 years, and they have resumed trade for a decade.

            I grew up in the Cold War, a conflict I didn’t see ending in my lifetime. Yet the Cold War has now ended. The wall has come down and multiple Soviet vassal states have joined the west. The US and Russia have normalized relations. This was unthinkable when I was a child.

            So here’s a riddle for you. In the mind of a Notre Dame alum, what’s more unforgivable than Hirohito’s attack on Pearl Harbour? Than the Nazis? Than Ho Chi Minh? Than decades of threat of nuclear war from Soviet empire?

            The answer? Fielding Yost.


          4. FLP_NDRox

            I don’t know how ancient it is.

            ND and UM have played only 28 times in the last century. All but seven in the last quarter century. At best the rift may have started healing since 1985.

            The other important lesson here: We alumni take ND very personally.


          5. Nittany Wit

            @ FLP

            Really, most of us don’t care if ND joins or not, but all of us would passionately care if ND only wants to join once independance is no longer profitable.

            Why should any conference split the pie another way for you, when you weren’t willing to split your revenue when profitable? If independence is fundamental enough then it should be something that ND is willing to maintain even if they have to cut athletics, including football, eventually. If you aren’t willing to do that, then it is just greed. In this case, no one wants to be the one to bail ND.

            Independence is great as long as you receive more than you give/spend…but not so great the other way around. If your not so sure about this, ask Temple.


          6. FLP_NDRox

            @Nittany Wit

            Have you already forgotten your just prior-to-Big Ten history?

            Penn State didn’t join the Big Ten merely out of the kindness of it’s heart. It was having scheduling issues. The football program was becoming much less profitable.

            Penn State also became the first College team to accept a bowl invite in the pre-season because it was locked out of every bowl better than the Blockbuster Bowl in like 1990 or so.

            Penn State running out of options is the reason that Penn State joined the Big Ten.

            Everything you are suggesting ND might do is stuff that Penn State has actually already done.


          7. Nittany Wit

            @ FLP

            Here’s your medal for maintaining independence longer than PSU. Now you just have to beat Navy to be the oldest independent…


        2. allthatyoucantleavebehind

          The “tattoo” remark isn’t about “the Big 10 hates you and has always hated you.” That’s simply what a paranoid ND fan would read into it. The “tattoo” remark stems from the fact that the Big 10 has given ND numerous warm welcomes through the years…to be told NO! at every turn. (Judging from 2003 rumors, perhaps it wasn’t an emphatic NO after all) By interpreting all of the data and trends (the Big 10 is trending up, ND is trending down), this might be the last chance for ND to get in. If ND is fine with that and they’re sold on the optimism that the “next” coach will be the guy to turn things around, so be it. The Big 10 has a right to be bitter (after so many turn downs) but they’ll move on and be better for it.

          When the Big 10 scoffs at you for joining the ACC in 2020 for half the money you could have had in 2010, you’ll take that acrimony and say “SEE, THEY’VE ALWAYS HATED US” And with that self-righteous sentiment, you’ll still have half the money and none of the old rivalries.

          Personally, I’m convinced that ND is a done deal to the Big 10. But if I’m wrong, don’t expect hand shakes and back slaps, Domers. “Hell hath no fury like a [conference] scorned…”


          1. FLP_NDRox

            Since when is like two “numerous”? Also, perhaps this is paranoid, but since they have historically been adverse to ND and are still 100% secular and 92% public, perhaps they are only welcoming ND’s money and national following that ND had to build as a result of aggressive actions taken against the program decades ago.

            Also, granted the state of midwestern economies, I think the B10’s “uptrend” is an optimistic outlook. ND, as always, remains one good coach away (thanks to the 85 scholarship limit that means even a Boise State can get good with a favorable schedule and good coaching).

            According to Scott S, ND is not allowed to be bitter that the Big Ten tried to kill ND football because it was a while ago. I can’t see how or why the B10 should be bitter over a couple or perhaps trio of nos.

            I doubt that ND will ever join the ACC, much less in a decade. Remember only the B10 has any financial reason to expand beyond 12. Plus it remains to be seen if a 16team conference is even doable. Even if we do, I bet we still play USC and Navy like we always will. We haven’t played Michigan that much. We’ll see if teams other than the B10 powers don’t want ND on their schedules. As long as we can get 3 November games, independence is viable.

            ND doesn’t fear the Big Ten. The only difference in the last decade is that the BTN and a couple of inadequate ND coaches. The BTN’s profits are always going to be at risk from the rise of internet TV and the threat of a la carte pricing. Who’s gonna pay for the right to watch 3rd choice B10 games, B10 college infomercials, and old games?


          2. mushroomgod

            I agree that the Big 10 fans wouldn’t have reason to continue disliking ND were it to join, EXCEPT that I know ND fans wouldn’t let it go…and therein lies the problem with ND in the Big 10, from my perspective. Your constant whining has reminded me of why I dislike ND in the first place. I don’t think the Big 10 presidents are going to be willing to put up with your crap regardless of $ concerns.


          3. FLP_NDRox

            @ ‘shroom


            And why should we let it go?

            Don’t hate ND because they won’t join because you have nothing to offer.


          4. mushroomgod

            That’s another ignorant statement — as the Big 10 obviously has a lot to offer. Whether ND wants to accept is your business. But to keep obsessing about Fielding Yost 80 years after the fact is rather cult-like, don’t you think?


          5. greg

            ND alums want to stay independent for one reason: their self-identity is tied to being independent. All the other reasons are post hoc rationalizations to their desire to stay independent. Fielding Yost, research, religion and all the rest are BS.

            Just let it go. I’m glad they don’t want into the B10. They’ll remain where they want to be, and the B10 won’t have to change its identity either.


          6. FLP_NDRox

            @ ‘shroom

            What the B10 had to offer ND wasn’t good enough in 1999. Perhaps I should have said what B10 has to offer ND has already been declared inadequate.

            cult-like? *shrug* Then again, unlike B10 schools, we actually have a couple ‘football martyrs’.

            @ greg

            Yost is only an historical example of why ND has issues trusting the B10’s motives. Research probably an excuse.

            The religion thing probably isn’t. I don’t know that the Big Ten as secular universities will be able to tolerate preferential hiring to Catholic scholars, not including sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause, and if ND ever accepted Ex Corde. The Catholic identity is pretty important to the fanbase and alumni, and ND will want to maintain it.

            Just because I don’t want to be roommates doesn’t mean we can’t be neighborly.


          7. greg


            You’re correct, religion is part of the self-identity of ND, which is the reason ND should remain independent.


          1. Manifesto


            One of the nice things about this blog so far has been the (relative) lack of personal attack. Let’s keep it friendly boys (or at least passive aggressive), even if we disagree on a topic.


        3. allthatyoucantleavebehind

          I obviously picked the wrong guy to use hyperbole on with the whole middle finger tattoo comment. Yikes.

          Find a suicide hotline number for your area now, because when you’re feeling blue later after ND joins the Big 10, you won’t have the self-regard to look it up. I’m trying to save your life here, rox. It’s just football. Relax.


  4. M

    I have wondered at times about whether or not the announcement to the commissioners would be made public. For the Big Ten it would provide more of the CYA aspect, as least in terms of public opinion. For the conferences themselves it is obviously better not to have that information public, especially if in the Big XII it gives Texas political cover to leave if Nebraska or Missouri is invited.

    It does bring a whole new angle to the Rutgers comment by Tagliabue if he knows they are already in talks to leave.

    I definitely agree with the skepticism about 4 16 team conferences. The only conferences that have it as a remotely feasible option are the Big Ten and SEC. The Pac-10 is a bit of a longshot to go to 12, the ACC is still smarting after its last expansion, and the Big XII and Big East would presumably be severely injured by the first two. There simply isn’t a framework.

    Of course, similar comments were probably made about 12 team conferences. There seems to be a fundamental property about conferences having strength greater than the sum of their parts which continues to favor larger and larger arrangements.

    I loved that Nebraska article. “I am probably being lied to, but this is what people are telling me”.

    If nothing substantial happens by the end of June, we all probably can move on to other obsessions.


  5. allthatyoucantleavebehind

    Frank, I’m blushing. To be mentioned in an official post is a dream come true. I want to thank my family for allowing me the hundreds of hours to read Frank’s blog. I want to thank my first grade teacher for teaching me how to read. And to all the other commentors out there, keep working hard…keep believing in your dreams. I’m living proof that it can happen to you. You can make the big time too.



  6. Father Guido Sarducci

    My prediction, is that the Big 10 will add Notre Dame…

    …as well as the entire Big 12. This will create a massive 24 school conference that will be far more powerful (and sinister) than the Super Deathstar Conference. It shall be named the ‘Big Midwest’. It will also control the airspace above it, and charge schools from other conferences exorbitant fees to pass through. From this, the resulting TV deal, bowl payouts, the branding of its own processed meat line (sausages, ring bologna, shaved ham, etc), Powerball lottery winnings, and other joint capitalistic endeavors, each school will see individual payouts of $350M per year.

    Also, Penn State and Texas Tech will collab on an underground high-speed train that connects their campuses. Why? Why not? They’ll have more money than God.


  7. duffman


    thanks for the BMF video.. my comment on on april 21st @ 2:10..

    “i was just interpreting what arkstfan said and taking it to the next logical step.. The BIG 3 reform and leave the BCS behind. In this scenario the newly formed BMF (think of Jules wallet in Pulp Fiction) has an 80% demand footprint, and everybody else is along for the ride. I have read in the past where this was desired so the top schools and conferences could dominate the market..”

    Somewhere the BMF Conference will come to pass and when they make the movie Samuel L Jackson will be playing Delaney..

    the next blog should be nothing but parody and spoof.. just to chill everybody out before we all become expansion zombies..



  8. 84Lion

    I had meant to post this in last week’s entry but actually I think it’s more relevant to this entry:

    So I was standing over my shredded wheat and grape nuts this morning and trying to digest the latest on Big Ten expansion. And then it hits me: when all else fails, follow the money.

    The number that really popped out at me was the amount of money left on the table every year the Big Ten stays at 11 members. The number I remember is $700 million dollars.

    Now, for an outfit like Fox, that’s big bucks. Even if that number is cut in half (their half, or $350 million dollars, not sure, maybe the number for Fox is $700 mil just for them) that’s still a lotta money to be leaving on the table every year. Fox is gonna do everything they can to prevent leaving those bucks on the table.

    And my guess is that “everything they can” includes leaking data and information to guys like Greenstein and outfits like the Tribune in order to, er, prod the process.

    I had wondered why, when this past Winter Texas became a hot topic in this already hot topic, a “Big Ten source” leaked information that the Big Ten and Texas were talking. My guess is that Fox and/or the Big Ten Network might have planted that story to influence that situation.

    The BTN has a big stake in this too. They have execs, offices, and so forth. Sure, the channel is growing as it is, but they can see just how much bigger they can be.

    Delany and the Big Ten offices have a stake in this too. Delany could conceivably be able to put together the kind of conference with the kind of clout not just to influence bowls or the BCS, but to lead the BCS process or maybe even lead the charge for the BCS schools to dump NCAA. How about forming the NCFL (National Collegiate Football League)?

    Everything flows downhill and by the time the money flows down to the individual schools, that $350 million becomes about $22 million for each school if my Penn State math isn’t too bad (OK, let’s say they do get $700 mil, that’s $44 mil per school). That’s certainly not chump change but the question is, is it enough to move the University Presidents? We are talking people who are steeped in tradition, ivy-covered masonry and all that. People seem to be incredulous that Our Lady isn’t banging on the Big Ten’s door begging to get in on the gravy train. The problem is that ND has, as some have noted, tradition, ego, and, er, a sense of self-importance. Not to mention a huge endowment (as it were).

    We alums and fans of “our” university or conference like to think of “our” university presidents as being the most wonderful, great, upstanding folks in the world – certainly nothing like those blowhards over at UND. I suspect all these folks are cut from the same cloth. Even with a bazillion Simoleans being waved in their face they might very well vote “no” just to prove a point or assuage some petty grudge.

    So on one hand you have a bunch of greedmeisters at Fox who want the Big Ten to expand so they can line their pockets. On the other you have university presidents who have proven time and again they are willing to turn down big bucks for tradition, ego, you name it – power tripping. In the middle is the Big Ten Network, which is aligned with Fox but has to cater to the schools to some extent, which after all provide the programming that is their bread and butter. Also in the middle are guys like Delany. I am going to resist calling him “good” or “bad” for the process but there is no doubt in my mind that, to Delany, being commissioner of a 16-school conference is more appealing than being commish of an 11-school conference.

    Frankly, I think that the longer the university presidents delay the process of expansion, the less power they will have. Other universities and conferences will simply work harder to “catch up” and “get better” while the Big Ten dithers. However, the B10 presidents are probably a lot more skeptical of Fox than Delany is, and while “money is power” and all that, I think the B10 presidents prefer their brand of power and influence that doesn’t depend on BTN revenues to sustain. (Can you say “endowments” and “research money?”)

    Ultimately, since it’s the University Presidents holding the final votes, my expectation is leaning more toward them “doing nothing.” It’s the path of least resistance, maintains the status quo, and requires absolutely no effort. Not fun for those of us who enjoy these things, but I think much more in tune with the reality of the situation. The Fox guys are gonna gnash their teeth and the BTN guys will shake their heads, but life will go on.

    Look, 20 years ago when Penn State went to the Big Ten and requested an invite, it wasn’t a slam dunk. PSU squeaked by with 7 out of 10 votes, and this for a school that at the time met all the criteria to a “T” – AAU membership, adjacent to the existing footprint, big state-related school with big research dollars, no conference affiliation to upset, etc. I think Penn State at the time was (and to my knowledge now is) considered a “public Ivy.” Penn State had just come off a couple remarkable decades of football success which included two national championships in the 1980s. Virtually no blemishes. Now we are talking not one, but as many as five schools to add, all of which arguably have some blemish or other on their record. How the Big Ten is going to get 8 out of 11 votes on all that is beyond me.


    1. duffman


      valid thinking.. and part of the whole 12 or 16 contrast..

      adding say Nebraska and get to 12 is one thing

      adding 5 teams and get to 16 is totally different

      As I said earlier, once the Big 10 hits 13 the genie is out of the bottle and for better or worse it will show a willingness to expand for the sake of MONEY alone. In doing some basic research for a spreadsheet I sent Frank, I was surprised to see several major football stadiums actually DECREASE seating to accommodate more CORPORATE BOXES.

      In a comparison of football and futbol I notice two things..

      a) commercials – in futbol commercials do not stop gameplay, which might explain why it will never become popular in america.. but what if college football had such a commercial restriction in place?

      b) seating – comparing Wembly and JerryWorld one appears to have reasonable seating and the other seems to have such a difference that might cause envy in former Roman emperors?

      If money is the Issue, will we someday see the Big House or the Shoe seating 10 – 20 less so they can put in big blocks of corporate suites that the average fan will not be able to afford?

      sorry to hit the soapbox, but it just seems like the “fans” I have known most of my life are getting priced out of venues as wages do not keep pace with ticket “inflation”. Are we approaching a day when a family of four will have to take out a loan just to see a game, much less a whole season of college football?


    2. PSUGuy

      Excellent points and if they are the overriding ones come expansion time there is only one school that comes anywhere near those criteria.


      It, and only it, has most of the combinational criteria listed above, the only exception being geographically continguous. Again though, the question becomes will it come alone? If so, say yes and move on. If not, the Big10 seriously needs to determine if the Mid-West is where it sees its future. I’ve gone on record as saying it isn’t, but well see.


  9. duffman

    The ND 2010 schedule..

    Purdue, Michigan, Stanford, Pitt, Western Michigan, Tulsa, Utah

    Navy, Army

    Michigan State, Boston College, USC

    some observations….

    a) If ND has a decent team, could be favorable season with schedule.

    b) If ND joined the Big 10, what would future schedules look like?

    which is to say would ND with a Big 10 schedule, want to play USC and other top teams OOC every year?


    1. FLP_NDRox

      b) Assuming a 12 team B10
      division games:

      OOD (play 3 of 6)

      Permanent OOC:

      let’s see that’s 10 of 12. Given the ‘fan interest’ in the divisional match-ups. I’d say we’d have to play good teams just to appease the haters. If you think my division are off, ask yourself if you seriously think that Michigan, OSU, and JoePa


      1. FLP_NDRox


        …are seriously going to force their teams to play all of the traditional powers annually.

        Especially since historically UM and OSU spent decades ducking, er, I mean, not scheduling the Irish.

        That and seriously, there are no big national names in the West. Sorry Wisconsin, and the default real opposing team in the movies, Iowa.


        1. duffman


          well that was an early point.. to have balance..

          you need 1 per 4 in 16..

          pod A PSU + 3
          pod B tOSU + 3
          pod C UM + 3
          pod D Neb + 3

          My question was.. if ND is in pod D instead of Neb how would the ND faithful feel about dropping USC as why would ND want OOC ==> BC + USC + OK (2012 & 2013) + ACC + BE + Big 10 in conference = BRUTAL schedule.. and harder path to NC?


          1. @duffman – My understanding that there are 2 games that matter to ND: USC and Navy. Michigan also matters in a sense but that would become a conference game if ND joined the Big Ten. Everyone else appears to be expendable. Any Domers out there can correct me if I’m misguided here.


          2. FLP_NDRox

            Frank is correct. The USC game is our “friendly rivalry game”, and most would be unhappy to lose it. The game’s been played since 1926, the only hiatus was WWII. Navy, who we owe big time for saving us during WWII is the only other required OOC game.

            I don’t know about the pod scheduling. I figure that UM and tOSU will end up in a pod together. That probably means ND will headline it’s own pod without either.

            Another thing is that I don’t see the Big Ten going to twelve soon anymore…for reasons Frank and others outlined.

            If it’s B10+ND, I think ND goes west to put a “name” school out there, and to maintain the IU-PUR rivalry (not to mention keeping the division for UM, tOSU, and PSU.

            If we’re looking at a B14 situation, ND likely still ends up out west. The only way I can see them with the east is if the other 2 teams are from the Big East (moving IU-PUR out west).

            Off-Topic note for all you people who don’t believe ND plays a national schedule: Even this year’s jerry-rigged schedule plays 7 games outside the B10 footprint.

            As for the pods, we’ll keep Navy and USC OOC regardless. The remaining games (both of them) will probably rotate around a group of schools similar to the ones we play now.

            I see no I-AA in the future, if that’s what you mean. The alumni wouldn’t stand for it. We’re pretty cheesed about playing our first MAC team ever this year (when the stadium expanded in 97, they initally had Miami (OH) set. Pushback forced them to get Ga. Tech instead).


        2. M


          First of all, if I were an ND fan I would not be defending anything based on this year’s schedule.

          Second, by “7 games outside the B10 footprint” you of course mean “7 games against teams from outside the Big Ten footprint”. As far as where the games are actually played, there are 8 in the Big Ten footprint right now (7 home games, @MSU) and two more in what would be the Big Ten footprint in almost any expansion scenario (New Jersey, NYC). That leaves two games that are genuinely “outside the footprint”.

          On the other hand, the entire Big Ten has 7 such games total so maybe your point stands.


          1. FLP_NDRox

            No ND fan can defend this year’s schedule.

            Corrected above. Sorry, long day.

            Still, our schedule is almost twice as “national” on a bad year than it would be under a B10 schedule maker (7 games to 4 OOC).


        3. Scott S

          “That and seriously, there are no big national games in the west. Sorry, Wisconsin…”

          Ouch! Your snub stings the Badgers!

          I admit, we Badgers can only dream of playing Notre Dame, with its gaudy .593 winning percentage and one win (over a 6-7 Hawaii team) in its last 10 bowl games over the past 15 years.

          How can we Badgers solace ourselves with our sad .678 winning percentage over the same stretch and a 10-5 bowl record in our last 15 appearances?


          1. FLP_NDRox

            Sorry, I didn’t mean to slight the national interest in the program.

            What were those big national games Wisconsin had? Sorry, I’m drawing a blank.


          2. FLP_NDRox

            In all seriousness, I wouldn’t mind seeing a home and home with Wisconsin on a year we don’t have a UM or MSU. Once. I’ve heard good things about the Camp Randall bar scene.

            I just don’t see any kind of rivalry developing, and I don’t see anyone outside of Wisconsin or that isn’t an ND fan watching the game.


          3. Scott S

            I’m just ribbing you a bit. Believe me, I know Notre Dame has a history challenged by frew teams. Certainly not by Wisconsin.

            However, Wisconsin has turned their program around pretty remarkably over the past 20 years. I’d call three Rose Bowl victories fairly “national”, as well as other bowl victories over the likes of Auburn, Arkansas, Miami, Colorado, and UCLA. And in their last few seasons, Wisconsin is 6-4 against Penn State and 5-4 against Ohio State. That’s not too shabby considering where the program was in the 70’s and earlier.

            Further, I’m not sure Notre Dame would be heavily favored were we to play today. As evidence, I’d point out that last year Notre Dame and Wisconsin had three common opponents.

            ND lost to Michigan 34-38. Wisconsin won 45-24.

            ND beat Michigan State 33-30. Wisconsin won 38-30.

            ND beat Purdue 24-21. Wisconsin dismantled Purdue 37-0.

            Maybe we’ll see soon enough. Supposedly Bielema is trying to set up a series with Notre Dame.


  10. Ken Smithmier

    I think I disagree with your conclusion, though I agree with a lot of your thinking re B10 presidents, etc.
    However, today’s economic times have put a lot of universities in trouble. States are behind on their payments, layoffs, pay freezes,etc. There is too much money at stake here to ignore.
    In addition first movers always have the advantage. These are smart people, a lot of them have aggressive business people on their boards, and they typically are not the types to sit back and wait to see what the world hands them.
    At the same time they have long term personal and professional relationships mixed up in all this and I doubt that any of them, the presidents or Delany, want to come off anymore predatory or disruptive than they have to.
    Thus, back out of the spotlight for a bit, let your colleagues talk in private, mend their fences, prepare their own bosses for what might be happening, but make your plans and move ahead.
    My guess is bigger not smaller, sooner not later.


  11. herbiehusker

    Tom Osborne is a man of few words. A few months ago his stance on the situation was “we’ll stick with our Big 8 friends” now it is “if the Big 10 calls, we would listen” and lately he has been mute on the topic. This coming from Osborne just screams to me that there has been contact of some sort between the Big 10 and Nebraska; but maybe i’m just squinting too hard to read between the lines.


    1. Bob Devaney

      Herbie–no, you’re not squinting too hard. Tom has always been a man of few words, and he was a politician on Capital Hill to boot.

      If anything, I think that about-face on the subject was his way of letting those that can read behind the lines know that it was a question of when, and not if. That, or his folks in the AD office ran worst and best case scenarios, and I’m sure neither group involved Nebraska remaining in the Big XII.

      And I disagree about discussion on this topic not being fun when including the mega chips (read: Texass, Notre Dame, Nebraska), specifically Nebraska. Considering all the infighting experienced between Nebraska and the SWC, as well as how the Big 8 ‘friends’ left Nebraska in the lurch (to their own detriment), once they jump ship to the Big 10 (assuming Notre Dame doesn’t jump back in), we’ll likely start hearing more about the dirty laundry and the discussions/accusations of SWC-style corruption that has gone on since the Big XII’s inception.


        1. Albino Tornado

          I don’t think the SWC schools in the Big XII are crooked, or at least not any more crooked than the Big 8 schools (q.v. OU, Colorado, KSU had some troubles, I think). Hell, Baylor had the worst of it with Dave Bliss.

          I do think that the conference, however, is being run by, of, and for the South — specifically UT — and there’s plenty of Nebraskans that would gladly walk east across the Missouri to not have to deal with the Southern Voting Bloc again.


          1. I do think that the conference, however, is being run by, of, and for the South — specifically UT

            Nebraska fans say this a lot. What decisions would have been made differently had Texas not supposedly been running the conference?


          2. Mike

            If Nebraska was on the other end of those heart braking losses to Texas you would probably hear a lot less complaining about Texas.

            I have heard a lot of Nebraska fans complain that gravity of the Big 12 is moving south (to paraphrase Tom Osborne). Taking a look at the Big 12 you can easily see why. The Big 12 is a bottom heavy in both schools and population (~70% of Big 12 population are in Texas and Oklahoma). I tend not to believe that Texas runs the conference just from the simple fact that Texas has one vote and needs six other schools to agree to get a majority.

            Take the Big 12 Football Championship (same logic works for Big 12 HQ). There has been much complaining that the game is being played two years in a row in Dallas instead of alternating to a northern location (i.e. KC). The six Big 12 south schools are all within driving distance from Dallas. They’re for it. Now Colorado doesn’t care where the championship is because unless it’s in Denver, it’s getting on a plane and the travel time and costs are not that different. Does Iowa St really have a vested interest where the game is played? If they make it, the fans will be so excited they would happily go anywhere. If Dallas offered the most money to host the game versus playing in KC do you think Iowa St and Colorado wouldn’t be for the more money option? I could see both taking more money because for Colorado distance isn’t a factor and for Iowa St, the likely hood of them making the game isn’t high enough to turn down guaranteed money.

            However, there is one big decision Texas made that the entire Big 12 can complain about. Texas vetoed the Big 12 Network. Had Texas not done that, I am not so sure the Big 12 schools would be in the Big Ten’s expansion discussion. As a business decision at the time I think Texas did what was best for them. Any Big 12 network would take large amounts of Texas (the state) cash and send it north. Why would UT do that when it can start their own network (and they are, see my link on my comment on 4/20) and keep all that money themselves? UT didn’t become the richest athletic department in the country by not making the maximum amount money they could off of everything. So on the cable network issue, Texas did “run the conference.”


          3. Albino Tornado

            If Texas didn’t run the conference —

            Partial Qualifiers might still be accepted (that one really got up Osborne’s nose)

            The CCG wouldn’t be bouncing between Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, while the postseason hoops tournament wouldn’t be alternating (as I believe it still is) between KC and OKC.

            The conference HQ wouldn’t be in Dallas.

            Explain a single decision in the history of the conference that has benefited North schools more than South schools.

            The fact that we’ve had at least 3 nut-punch losses to UT (4 years back when Terrence Nunn fumbled after picking up the first down, 3 years back when you guys remembered that Cosgrove had no clue how to defend the zone read and Jamaal Charles had 200 yards or so in the 4th quarter, and I don’t even want to talk about last year’s game), UT snapped NU’s home win streak record back in ’98 and the loss that kept us out of the ’99 title game is simply insult on top of injury.


          4. @Albino:

            So the fact that the Big XII CCG has been played seven times in Missouri, and seven times in Texas, is evidence that Texas runs the conference?

            The fact that the basketball tournament alternates between being held 40 miles from the KU campus and 40 miles from the campus of the Horns’ biggest conference rival is evidence that Texas runs the conference?

            The fact that the conference HQ has relocated to the largest metro area in the Big XII geographic footprint, and largest transportation hub, is evidence that Texas runs the conference?

            The fact that allowing partial qualifiers was defeated by an 11-1 vote at the onset of the conference is evidence that Texas runs the conference?

            I don’t get it.


    2. Nostradamus

      From the Omaha World-Herald interview with Harvey Perlman.

      “Another factor in joining the Big Ten is that each school owns part of the league’s TV network. That equity won’t be given away to new members, Perlman said, meaning schools essentially would have to buy their way in along with buying their way out of their current league. ”

      That is something I hadn’t seen publicly reported anywhere regarding Big 10 expansion. There are a couple of different ways of reading it, but it appears to imply that Nebraska has discussed the issue with the Big 10.


      1. FLP_NDRox

        When that article mentioned that teams would have to buy into the BTN equity I figured that would be a huge piece of ammo for the ND powers that be that want independence.

        I go back and forth on it, and right now, I think ND is out.


        1. Manifesto


          Maybe I don’t remember the original quote correctly, but I was never under the impression that was a “give me your lunch money to get in the clubhouse” statement.

          I’ve just thought of it as, “Any incoming member needs to pull their own weight and add to the pot, because none of us are taking a smaller cut for no reason.” Moreover, wasn’t this a random comment from Alvarez back in January or something?


          1. duffman

            i am guessing nebraska would get in without having to pay a cover. They would be VIP, not the folks behind the rope.


          2. mushroomgod

            I hope this ends up in the right place….

            I wanted to add, along the lines of Duff’s comments, that I fully understand that we (ie the Big 10) have these other schools by the gonads, and could probably force these buy-in provisions on them. I hope that is not the course taken. That approach would be a dramatic departure from the way the Big 10 has handled things in the past.

            As an example, I remember when Bo S. threatened to take Michigan out of the Big 10 because it did not receive favorable financial treatment even though it brought in more $ than Minn., IU et al. That didn’t go anywhere. If unequal financial treatment had become the norm, the Big 10 would be having the same issues as Texas and the Big 12.

            If you’re contemplating a 100 year relationship with these schools, squeezing them at the outset might not be a good way to begin.


          3. duffman



            again, it is like when the athletic department hits you up for 2,500 a ticket (after you add the ticket cost + the parking fee + the “donation” + etc) and then adds a 20.00 handling “fee”. Now 20 bucks is not much, but it seems mighty cheesy after hitting you up for 2,500. I am not alone in this thinking, as this “fee” business gets out of hand. I can not go to my boss and say there is an added “fee” for the week just because I can not manage my money better.

            This is still america, and we should not play this “us” vs “them” if we hope to show another generation a better way to think about how to deal with others. Your comment of “squeezing” is VERY appropriate as it sends out a negative feeling for the Big 10 as a whole. It sends a big load of bad will overnight that erases decades and decades of good will. If I were the joining school, this 50 Million Dollar “fee” would be enough to turn me off. Especially if the Pac 10 and SEC did not charge such a “fee”.

            Just something to think about, as we have discussed ways the Big 10 can shoot itself in the foot! This could be such an item that leaves a black eye for all to see. As I said before, I am not a Domer, but I can see where this is an easy argument (Texas as well) for not wanting to join!!


      2. omnicarrier

        The equity share of the BTN was first publicly mentioned by Alvarez.

        The BTN is currently valued as a $1 Billion entity according to Kagan SNL and within the next three to five years, could be as high as $2 Billion.

        The word I got when I started contacting ppl about this, is that any team not named ND would have to “buy in” an equity share.

        I was told it would be $5 million a year for 10 years. At the end of the 10 years, the member would then have an equity share in the BTN.

        So, if the profits of the BTN were $8.3 million per team, any new team in the league would only receive $3.3 million, since $5 million of that money is going toward their buy-in.


        1. duffman

          50 MILLION to join, I hope not.. That sends the wrong message.. has any conference ever charged such an entry fee? PSU? Ark? USC? any of the ACC that have been added in the past decade or so??

          If you want to ramp a school up, 50M off the top is tough pill.. I could see if they imposed a research upgrade fee but that would help the schools added to integrate. ie.. “as a condition of admittance you need to upgrade your research over the next 5 years and it must come out of your pocket, not ours.” These are “non profits” advocating research, if they ask for 50 M that sounds more like money grubbing or extortion.


          1. omnicarrier

            It’s not an entry fee. It’s a buy-in to the cable network of the BTN which is an asset of both the Big Ten Conference and News Corp.

            The bulk of those dollars the BTN is generated is coming out of the 8-state region of the current Big Ten conference.

            If it’s a Billion Dollar asset, why should a Missouri or a Syracuse come in and be an equal partner right off the bat?

            Frank talks about thinking like a College President instead of a sports fan. In this case re: an equity share for the BTN, one needs to think like a business man.


          2. greg

            When I first heard Alvarez mention a buy-in, I also scoffed at the idea. But the idea of having to buy an equity stake makes a ton of sense. This is an actual corporate entity that the Big Ten has a majority equity stake in. This isn’t just an academic consortium/brand that they are joining, there is corporation that they co-own.

            Why should expansion schools be expected to be given an upfront $50M equity stake in a television network? None of the previous conference expansions had such an item, so you can’t use any of them
            for precedence.

            duffman, you’ve been advocating the corporate angle more than anyone else on this blog. surely you can agree with the concept that an expansion school can’t just expect to be given 1/12th (or 1/24th) of a television network.


          3. omnicarrier

            Also, it’s not $50 million off the top, if the info I have is correct. It’s $5 million a year out of what would have been that new member’s equal profit share of the BTN.

            So, as an example if the national contracts are paying $8 million, the BTN $9 million, and the rest of the conference revenue is paying to each member $5 million, the new member gets $17 million for the year instead of $22 million for the first 10 years.

            Considering what Big East teams and most Big 12 teams are getting from their conferences, I don’t see it as a problem. Do you?


          4. mushroomgod

            well I’m with you here Duff. IMO, these additional schools either add value or they do not. If they add value, they should be treated as equal partners from the get-go. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be added.

            It’s not like IU (for example) put %50M into the Big 10 Network at the start. Weren’t atart-ups costs very minimal?

            If Nebraska adds value to the Big 10 Network, should the 11 present schools pay Nebraska 1/11 of the value added each year?

            I think it would be fair to charge to recoup start-up charges. I also think it reasonable to make demands/requests for improvements (like adding sports, improvement in faciolities etc).


          5. omnicarrier

            @mushroomgod – “IMO, these additional schools either add value or they do not. If they add value, they should be treated as equal partners from the get-go. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be added.”

            Each school will add value to the profits of the BTN. But that doesn’t mean they will add enough “asset” value to it to be worth $50 million+ each.

            By the time any are added, again according to Kagan SNL, the BTN could be worth $2 Billion. Fifty-one percent of that is 1.02 Billion, which means each individual share is worth close to $93 million.

            The Big Ten could add 3 schools that will generate $70 million plus in BTN revenue, but may only increase the value of the BTN to $2.25 Billion.

            If the shares would divided evenly, a new member coming in as added an $82 million asset to their portfolio while each of the current 11 Big Ten members have lost $11 million on that asset.

            So yes, each school will add value to the BTN profit (else they wouldn’t be added), but they shouldn’t be given an equity share right away.

            I believe Alvarez’ sentiment was that no incoming school should benefit immediately from the decades long sweat and tears the current schools have put into creating the brand that is the Big Ten.

            I’m an SU fan, a darkhorse candidate at best to get in, and even I understand this principle.


          6. @omnicarrier – Exactly. The reason why no one has had to “buy into” a conference before is because no other conference has had an asset like the Big Ten Network before. The BTN revenues aren’t just a share of payments from a third party TV rights contract – it’s part of an equity interest in a highly valued asset that’s majority-owned by the conference members. Would Fox just hand over a 5% share of a $1 billion TV network simply in exchange for the hope of future profits? Heck no, so no one should expect the Big Ten to do the same. The whole reason why we’re going through all of these wacky expansion scenarios is the existence of the Big Ten Network – otherwise, this would all be about a 12th team being added and no more. The BTN has truly re-written all of the rules here, including the “entry fee” for joining the conference.

            Plus, the BTN looks like easy money now, but it was a MASSIVE risk when the Big Ten members decided to create it. That was not an easy decision at all and the members had to suffer through growing pains and cable carriage disputes to get to the point to where they are now. The current Big Ten members have every right to demand some type of buy-in payments because they took all of the risk in creating the network in the first place.


          7. duffman


            as a fan I am most certainly not “advocating” the corporate agenda. In fact I have made quite clear I feel quite the opposite. It means tickets prices go up and corporate folks get the seats where long time fans used to sit. Those that remain have to cough up the cost of a new car just to stay at the top of the bottom. If one has supported an institution for generations it is a slap in the face. In addition I actually go to games and cheer, while the corporate folks socialize and sit on their hands. If you feel I support this new system then you have misread what I am writing.

            This said, it is the new reality. I am pointing out what I see, and feel little power to affect change. What I am pointing out is reality, and the fact that greed and money will destroy the game and friendships I have forged over a lifetime of supporting the home team. I said this is an earlier post as the game of my father is not mine nor will my experiences pass to the youth just starting to follow the games. I feel fortunate to have lived in the time that I have for some wonderful memories, but they will not be the same for kids today.

            I am old school, and many deals were done on a handshake. If somebody brings value to the table they have been rewarded not penalized and these are in for profit ventures. At times I have stood good for another partners error, bought out their interest, and moved on. In my opinion a business is an extension of the community in which it operates. It is old fashioned but how I was raised. Times change, and so do people. I choose to adhere to what I know.

            My point is STATE LAND GRANT institutions were formed for the benefit of their citizens. In the past decade or two they have moved to corporate models that generate revenue from “research” and “entertainment”. With tax subsidies and non profit status they have built in cost advantages that no small company can compete with. Like other corporate CEO’s they have little or no skin in the game, and a few at the top profit greatly for the decade or so they are at the top in cash or perks. What I am pointing out is what I see, not what I feel as a fan. If this was not clear to this point it should be now.

            That said, as non profits in a taxpayer funded industry they should be held to a higher level. As a collective they should “desire” to see new additions as incubators for future growth. I would not expect a plant to grow without water, air and light. In all honesty, if I was a president of a university I would expect any additions to bring value to the collective, and so no penalty should be expected to join.

            I am not opposed to exit penalties, as this should be necessary to recoup value lost when a part of the unit is removed and decreases value. Even then if you are in long enough this should be waived as well. So if an institution were a member for 25 or 50 years I would feel the union should have produced sufficient revenue that adding an “exit” fee would just be for penalty.

            My question was..

            Had ANY other member in any other conference had to pay to join (such as PSU when they joined the Big 10 in the first place)?

            If they have not, and the Big 10 was the first to do so it would have indicated a JUMP from non profit taxpayer subsidized institution to any other modern firm trying to score added revenue. It is a point I have indicated if the Big 10 goes past 12. In doing so they are indicating that academia is not the lofty goal they espouse. Like churches that own shopping centers and apartment complexes, they have become “half pregnant” which we know is impossible. It indicates that they are no longer one thing but another. My indications is that I see this, it does not in any way, shape, or form mean I approve of it!

            It does mean that I am not so much of a “pollyanna” to not incorporate it in my thinking of how things will actually turn out. To hope for a better future does not mean that you do not plan today to protect it. It also does not mean you strangle something with one hand while trying to get it to grow with another.


            If adding schools adds to existing school revenue streams works why place penalty upon them. It shows lack of respect and confidence in the deal in the first place. If these schools felt this way, then do not offer an invitation in the first place. It is called due diligence and is commonly used in business transactions.

            If I was a current Big 10 school generating a profit for my school of 20 Million per year. I would be happy, if by adding 1 more school added 5 Million more to my profit. I am old fashioned that way and try to do business for life, not for a quick fix. If adding the extra school added the 5 million, why would I want to fee them if it does not cost me. Everybody stays happy, and I now have an extra 5 Million that I did not have before..

            It is a problem with today.. everybody thinks they are owed something, or that they are not getting enough. If I am the better person and have the ability from past blessing, why not help someone out early that you thought enough of to have join you in the first place. I guess as public institutions they should answer to a higher and more noble calling, but I am just plain silly that way.


          8. duffman


            well spoken!! To bad you are not a college president, as you are blessed with good sense and true long term vision.



          9. mushroomgod


            I think I understand the issues quite well, thank you.

            Why do you assume that the schools added would increase profits, but would not work a corresponding increase in the value of the network as a whole? If each school will not be worth $50M plus to the value of the network over time, don’t add them.

            Also, I don’t see the BTN being liquidated or sold anytime soon. If the bookkeeping is a concern, the new schools could get equity ownership by a % each year they stay in the league. It’s not like we’re paying dividends here. The profits are what’s being distributed.

            As I said, it’s not like each U put in $50M to get the BTN up and running. These new schools are adding something here — their reputations, market etc as well. If Rutgers isn’t as valuable as IU or Purdue or Illinois, don’t add it.


          10. mushroomgod


            Hope this ends up in the right place…

            I understand your point that Rutgers, Pitt et al did not share the initial BTN risk. However, that risk is history. The Big 10 rolled the dice, and they now have a valuable asset. If they had failed, Rutgers and Pitt wouldn’t want in. So what. The question now is: do these proposed schools generate sufficient additional profits and value to be a good or a bad risk, given the situation as it now exists.

            They either add to profits and value of the Big 10 network, or they don’t. They are adding their reputations and markets–it’s not like the Big 10 is reaching out to them just to be charitable. Adding them and treating them like a bunch of jr partners is a very bad idea, imo


          11. PSUGuy

            Here’s the simple, logical, problem with not forcing a new team to buy in….

            “Miami” joins te Big10, gets the instant share, then after a few years gets decides to move to the SEC. It now OWNS a part of the Big10, had to spend nothing to get it, and is worth countless millions more because it was in a conference for a couple seasons. Given there will probably be buy out clauses in the event of a school leaving, but in that case the school literally gets money for nothing.

            Thing is I understand your points regarding treating all like equals, but facts are in today’s collegiate climate even the most well entrenched and respected schools are jumping from conference to conference much more than anyone in the Big10 would like. By making each team buy into the BTN you force that team to make a conscious decision to not just join the Big10, but BE the Big10. Just as every other school already in the conference has done to date.

            If the terms of joining are not amenable (and to be fair, $50 million over 10 years to have access to the prestige, research knowledge, & possibily billions the BTN creates to get into a conference is probably not out of the realm of reasonability) then simply don’t join. I think this goes back to JoePa’s statement (I really feel like I’m beating a dead horse with this statement)…joining a conference is more a marriage of goals and ideals. The current Big10 members understand, and believe, this, and want to make sure the new members believe it as well.

            @whoever mentioned public land grant universities and the monetization of the same…

            I understand your point, but I think you’re slightly off base. State funding is a large part of what makes those schools, but they pale in comparison to what it actually costs to run a top notch university. Fact is that money (typically) only goes towards subsidising in state students’ tuition and “core” infrastructure like housing.

            By focusing on research and becoming big time universities with numerous and well regarded programs, these universities draw the attentions of students/governments/businesses around the world and collect dollars that can be used for infrastructure as well (look up how federal research dollars are permitted to be used). In this way they are better able to support their founding goal (of providing undergraduate education to its founding state’s citizens) in a way that would never be possible otherwise.

            While I certainly understand, and agree, with the hesitance of “comercializing” the public land grant universities I think blaming them for the path they have chosen is a little short sighted. Fact is if PSU never decided to be a top notch research university, expand its campuses, and work as it does, it’d be just another land grant U with solid, but unremarkable, academics in a state that has undergone huge economic changes over the past 50 years. Instead, it now gets to be one of those institutions that is a stabilzing force in the PA region and attract people/businesses to PA. Something it simply couldn’t due if it had taken any other route (at least that I can see).

            PS – I can honestly say the same about every other school currently in the Big10.


          12. Frank,

            This is interesting. I would like to know more about the validity of the buy-in, what the specifics are, and if all the details are as presented here.

            If I’m buying in and I’m a candidate school, how do I “lock in” my buy in price? Because I wouldn’t want a sliding scale if this thing takes off…


          13. duffman


            a) on the miami question..

            I agree on conference jumping that is why you have the EXIT penalty not an ENTRANCE one. Simple solution.

            The second part is to be an owner of the BTN, you must be a MEMBER in good standing of the Big 10 conference. A second simple solution.

            b) on “commercialization”

            several things stick out..


            A trend I seem to see is soliciting research dollars vs educating students in a classical manner. As a former UC guy I see the value of a strong music and design school. In the equation for acceptance to the Big 10 this has no value as Frank has pointed out. The same with a school like Georgetown that produces diplomats and lawyers.

            I get that part I really do, but I will still put values in schools for being good for turning out citizens as well as those schools that turn out research. I see a need for both, and I see that not all schools can do both. it is what it is.

            On pure research I get the government sponsoring research that no single corporation would undertake (like cure for aids, or space exploration). I am also aware it brings jobs to an area that can be GREAT for the local economies. It is when they go the next step that I have issue with.

            Using eminent domain to acquire property and hiring “part time” researchers for decades just to skip paying benefits is a tool any Fortune 500 company would love to use if they could. When all this is done to literally “build a better mousetrap” I take issue as..

            a) has eliminated for profit businesses engaged in the same endeavor which goes against free market theory.

            b) has been granted excessive power that is to easy to abuse. So that you wind up with a quasi governmental thing that mr buchanan (MTSU u U Chicago g) gave birth in his public choice theory. Further expounded on by M A Isani (Georgetown) in the following..

            “It focuses largely on the assumptions of a generation of development economists who have articulated the role of the state or political action as an efficient alternative to ‘economic’ market failures. Isani has suggested that once we introduce ‘political’ market imperfections as generally found in these countries, we may be confronted with the possibility that far from correcting market failures, political action may actually prove to be a source of further distortions in the economy. He then goes on to develop an essentially economic paradigm of politics appropriate to many developing countries and which is consistent with the axioms of economic theory.”

            And while dealing with foreign countries I see similar “fiefdoms” emerging at land grant institutions. the “pure” education seems to be overshadowed by “research” with an economic “rent” controlled by a president that is subject to human frailties that can possess all of us.

            I am fascinated by an institution that seems to be the opposite..


            Where tuition is FREE because over time they built up their endowment (Almost 1 BILLION – down from 1.1 BILLION pre crash) so folks could receive a strong liberal arts education @ a Tier 1 school! And if this were not enough, the students must work part time which helps develop independence and a sense of self worth.

            My point is not that this college exists, but why has this model not been the blueprint for EVERY State Land Grant Institution in the USA. My theory is nobility and academic integrity gets corrupted as the zeros pile up after the first digit (1.00 enforces a sense of frugality that 1,000,000,000.00 may not) when a president of a university answers to a board filled folks in big companies that make a healthy living selling things to the flagship state university and benefitting from perhaps a patent that the university owns.

            I am often reminded of the 1st baron of Acton in his commentary..

            “Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”

            Again, I am only one person of no real consequence but to further a great and noble Big 10, should not all demand and reward university presidents that put long term “education” rewards ahead of short term economic ones?

            Consider endowments at state land grants that afford free education for all their state citizens similar to the Berea model.

            Consider prudent long term sowing of goodwill among state land grants, instead of short term “harvesting” of economic rewards.

            As “research” and “entertainment” factories are presidents creating better citizens for the states they serve?

            If not, spin off “research” and “sports” as private companies and operate them as such, so at least the lines are not so blurred.


          14. greg


            re: buy-in logistics

            Here is an idea I had. Each new school is given 1% equity by the Big Ten schools, 1% equity by Fox, and has a buy-in schedule over their first 10 years of their conference membership. The price is locked in at a BTN valuation determined by an unbiased investment firm (HA!) at the time of joining the conference.

            This gives a new school a huge chunk (2%) for “free”, and also buys into their remaining share. Fox gives up 1% equity for each new school, since the entire pie will grow and to show they are willing partners in the expansion. The expansion school(s) buy-in of a final 1 to 1.5% over 10 years limits the bite out of their annual media revenues.


          15. M

            @Duffman regarding research vs education

            I would argue strongly that a research university is a substantial benefit to a state. The


          16. M

            number of new companies and jobs founded from ideas developed in academia is huge and many of those jobs stay near the university that develops them. Furthermore a research university lures top talent from all over the world as professors and graduate students who often settle in the area. Private companies are simply unable to take on the risk involved in sponsoring research (with a few exceptions) and even if they are they find it easier to work with a university.

            I would also argue that, done correctly, research and education are not antagonistic goals. Students want to be taught by the best thinkers in the field and these individuals are usually interested in research. I know everyone has a story of the professor who ignored them because he was research focused, but these are more the exception than the norm (hopefully).

            As far as tuition, it does seem a bit disingenuous that schools with multi-billion dollar endowments still have it. Overall, more schools seem to be headed towards a “higher tuition, but higher financial aid” model, which is obviously better than nothing.

            My view is that of all the fiefdoms in this world, one based on increasing research seems the least harmful.


          17. PSUGuy


            I had a long and involved response (2 pages single spaces in Word!) I just finished when I realized that the topics are probably diverging from the intent of the blog/post. If Frank doesn’t care I can post, but to summarize:

            a)Still disagree about not paying in. When it comes right down to it the new schools weren’t there to do the heavy lifting in the beginning, and will be getting far more, margin wise, by joining than the original Big10 schools will get by adding. Its in their interest to expand, but not give something valuable away.

            Understand the concern regarding undergraduate education and turning schools into glorified research/entertainment companies, but to repeat what I considered a mindless ND justification for not joining in the “Research v Education” argument as gospel truly does a disservice to the services the Big10 universities provide to its undergraduate students.

            Facts are the Big10 schools are top notch undergraduate institutions, admittedly focusing on engineering, sciences, and other “practical” programs. I for one don’t see a conflict between being a large research institution and having a great undergraduate system. Just because they don’t focus on the “classical” programs doesn’t make them any weaker of an undergraduate school.


          18. duffman


            “Overall, more schools seem to be headed towards a “higher tuition, but higher financial aid” model”

            If you have kids or grandkids this means saddling somebody with MASSIVE debt – If the “scholarship” part of the equation was much higher, I would be in full agreement with you..

            On the state benefit thing it is where do you draw the line.. Cure for Cancer, Space Exploration, Alternative Energy, etc Yes..

            If you are doing minor research (say better computer ink) or some such .. No! companies can do that sort of research on their own…

            Sort of like having State Prison Inmates do 3rd party work (think Brubaker movie) as example, even tho it is not quite appropriate..


            I started out in aerospace eng. so I value the research side of the equation. If I implied that teaching “research” was beneath “classical” that was NOT my intent. I have many Purdue grads in my family and it is a great place to learn at the undergrad level.

            That said if Domers are using it as a crutch then it is their issue, just smile and walk away. Nobody wins so why waste time and energy on something that will never meet a common ground.

            If you want to email Frank and have him post it in the forum that is cool with me if it is cool with Frank.

            While it was moving off topic, the intent was to point out that the economic “research” decision was part and parcel to the economic “entertainment” decision. So by adding more than 12 teams, the Big 10 was by action confirming the effect of money on future decisions.


          19. PSUGuy


            Oh I don’t think there was ever any question about this being a money related decision. I’ve stated that if the Big10 was really interested in pulling “the next PSU” then it should expand by 1 team and that team must be Texas. End of story.

            The thing is, just because expansion to 16 is a purely money related decision doesn’t mean I don’t think the right “wrong” teams can’t be rolled into that 16. Take for example:

            Pitt-meets every possible standard except its national brand appeal is not quite where it would be preferred. Honestly this is a Big10 school through and through and both the conference and the school would be better of for coming together.

            Rutgers-very good academics with loads of research. Probably actually finds itself somewhere in the middle of the pack, maybe even the bottom, athletically, but it still fits in very well overall, even if it doesn’t meet the “PSU/Texas” standards.

            UConn-Athletically its hit or miss. It would certainly be toward the bottom members of the league. Still, in the past 20 years it has spent a lot on improving its campus, expanded its research (it now does as much/more as AAU schools KS/Neb/Mizzou/Syr), and done a lot to increase its academic profile among similar minded institutions (its actually ranked by the AWRU higher than Mizzou, Syracuse, Neb, or KS-in that order). Truly I think UConn is trying to become “The University of New England” (I was surprised to hear it has a reduced out of state tuition for students from other New England states) and being admitted to the Big10 would be a huge step toward achieving those goals.

            Point being while I understand and agree a move to 16 would be almost entirely profit based, I truly think the right mix of schools will do nothing to harm the Big10, either academically or athletically, and in long term will benefit both the parties greatly.


          20. duffman


            Pitt keeps growing on me..

            I have been on board with Rutgers..

            I think I suggested Uconn to Frank as I thought it would be a nice Maryland fit..

            I keep looking for “future” gems, which is why I liked Uconn… I think you are correct on the “New England” moniker, and they were the seed that ESPN started with Rassmussen.

            My problem is that posters keep saying I do not get the academic value.. which is false.. I get it.. just kept trying to get others to see the money overrides it all no matter what we think or say..

            and once the Big 10 goes to 16, it would be foolish to think the rest of the college sports community would just stand around.

            My way out thought if it was just academics and research, would be for the Big 10 to go after University of Toronto!

            just think of the hockey!



          21. loki_the_bubba

            PSUGuy: “I’ve stated that if the Big10 was really interested in pulling “the next PSU” then it should expand by 1 team and that team must be Texas. End of story.”

            I still don’t buy this. The analogy to PSU is Nebraska. Similar profile, just hanging off the west edge instead of the east. Texas is a step up at this point.


          22. PSUGuy

            Big Ten Hockey Conference here I come!

            No offense to any Nebraska pimpers/alumni, but it in no way what-so-ever is PSU. Geographically, its contiguous, and an outlier, but PA has x4 the population of Nebraska and gave access to the mid-Atlantic region, much more lucrative (due to population densities) than the mid-west.

            Athletically it has a top football brand, but one that has gone through nearly a decade of mediocrity (when PSU was added it was at a high point). In nearly 20 years of Big10 football, PSU has had 4 seasons total without a Top 25 ranking (admittedly the 90’s were great for ‘Husker football).

            Academically the two schools really don’t compare at all. PSU’s research expenditures are double+ what Nebraska’s are. PSU has been ranked by the AWRU in the 40’s for the past decade. Neb has been ranked 151-200 for that same time period. PSU Engineering (a specific field near and dear to Big10 hearts) has been Top 10 for the same period. Neb not in the Top 100.

            Not to overly disparage Nebraska. Its a great school, a top notch football program (just one going through a down period), and I think would be a nice addition to the Big10, but it certainly is no PSU or Texas as far as meeting all the criteria a “perfect” addition would have.


      3. Nittany Wit

        Not sure that they would have to buy their way into the BTN or not…essentially, each school is sharing equally the revenue ($22 mil/school) as well as the equity (~4.6% coming from 51% ownership between 11 schools). So obviously when a new school joins they are not going to just be given equal shares in the BTN. If they went to 16 teams then the equity stake would be 3.2% ownership to each team. The current teams would have no problem to continue equal revenue sharing, as they benefit by the increased revenue the new team brings, but what is the benefit for equally sharing the equity? There is none…

        However, once the new team joins they could essentially pay their equity share back to the Big10 as they would buy in gradually. For example, assuming that the BTN is worth $1 billion (just as an easy hypothetical…I’m assuming that this isn’t that much of an underestimate and may be an over estimate) that means a new team would have to shell out 32 million to buy their 3.2% stake in the BTN. The Big 12 teams would make about 10-12 million more in the Big 10 at a minimum, so they could reserve 3 million a year to buy in over 10 years, or they could not buy in now, but would be responsible for kicking in their share if and when the BTN bought out Fox.

        Regardless, this isn’t similar to getting an extra $20 parking fee…this is like saying you took a new job and received the same salary as your colleagues, but that you want them to split up their stock options to include you.


  12. PSUGuy

    Only thing I disagree with Frank is #3. Time is on the Big10’s side and I really think they will take all 12-18 months.

    First off, another year of ratings boosts to the BTN should increase its payout and thus its per school payout. More fuel for arguments on why team X should leave whatever conference (or lack there-of) its in, no matter the history, favorable deals, etc it maintains.

    What’s more, the ABC/ESPN contract currently signed will expire in 2016. Adding school(s) now will be too close to the end of the contract to force a re-work, but will force the per school payout to drop, precipitously if the expansion truly is by 5 schools. Waiting a year saves that many more dollars, still allows the team(s) to get into the league and show worth by the time renogotiations get back in work.

    I do however think 84Lion may have hit on something. Fox/BTN may be pushing to go big fast (and thus where some of the “leaks” come from). The universities may have thought to go for one school slowly (the sudden and apparantly contradictory reversal in public announcements by Delany et al have been making recently).

    The question is can Delany navigate the treachorous middle ground between the two? If Fox/BTN can lay off, maybe the universities won’t be so pressured and would entertain more than one school. If given time, plenty of data, and can be convinced particular schools actually fit the model of the Big10, the universities may actually be convinced a 16 team conference garuantees the long term success of all teams in the conference. Something the Big10 has always made its primary focus.


  13. Pariahwulfen

    I’ve got a couple of things to take care of before I can sit down and actually read this (as well as a few hundred more of the comments from the LAST post you did Frank…) but I’ll throw this to you in the mean time…even if it is an imprecise translation.

    “All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.”
    – Sun Tzu, the Art of War


    1. mmc22

      This is exactly what I think is happening right now. All of this is just a screen so they can go behind closed doors and negotiate with their candidates, one at a time. I really believe that when it will happen they will announce a complete package of teams (3 or 5).


  14. Playoffs Now!

    Sorry, but the SEC is not off the table for Texas. UT’s preference is a B12/P10 hybrid, but they have demands and the P10 does have the setup and capacity to shoot themselves in the foot. Travel is a big deal to TX, not just because of costs, and the current P10 would require more travel than going to the B10+ or SEC. Texas and OU, aTm, and TTech to the SEC west (minus AL and AU) would create an 8-team division with travel no worse than in UT’s current B12 south. If the SEC wants Texas bad enough, they could agree to certain changes in conference rules. Plus this isn’t 15 years ago, some of the differences have lessened.

    Again, I think some combo with the P10 is more likely, but the SEC isn’t off the table. Going to the B10+ is off the table, unless it is as part of a 24-team national academic super conference. That would put Texas in a 12-team western division combining the best of the P10 and B12, with the current B10+ and another (ND or Rut) in the east. I just can’t see the B16 be able to fit in UT’s demands, which for going north would surely require bringing a Longhorn 4-pack of aTm, OU, and TT. UT is likely to get that from the P10 if they join, and it is nearly certain the SEC would agree to that, so it is the negotiating floor. Not sure why some think adding NE, KS, and/or MO would in any way lure Texas to the B10+ without also taking their 4-pack.

    Why the Longhorn 4-pack? They want it for travel reasons, keeping annual rivalry games in conference to save OOC slots, and to maintain a voting block in conference matters. TX views TT as an emerging research institute that can reach Tier One in five years and becoming AAU eligible within 10. Well those are the goals, anyway. UT wants to emulate the Cal schools setup and success. Doesn’t automatically mean that TTech (or UHou) has to be in the same conference, Cal and UCLA are the only ones out there, but being in the same conference would make it easier for TT to make rapid advances and bring in dollars faster. UT is likely to get that from the P10 if they join, and it is nearly certain the SEC would agree to that, so it is the negotiating floor.

    So clearly TX is looking to and negotiating with the P10, perhaps also conspiring with the B10+. But there is another element that could end up moving the Longhorns to the SEC: aTm and OU acting in tandem. UT could move to a conference where one of those two didn’t and became an OOC game. However it is highly unlikely that the Longhorns would accept having both of their must-play annual games out of conference (and jacking up their SOS which surely goes up in any move to the P10+ or B10+.) Sure UT could go it alone without OU and aTm, but ultimately TX doesn’t see that as being in their best interest. So a united OU and aTm insistance on joining to the SEC could pull UT east. (BTW, it is the t-shirt fan faction that has been screaming that the SEC would never be an option for UT.)

    Having said that, I expect UT to work out a merger with some or all of the P10.


    1. Bob Devaney

      One HUGE fly in the ointment for all of your arguments regarding Texas schools–the Texas State Legislature.

      Remember–the Texas Legislature was able to block the Big XII until they saddled it with Baylor (instead of TCU or Houston) when it was formed. They won’t let Texas act on their own (unless Texas wants to wean itself from taxpayer money, which is highly unlikely) unless they take their brethren with them…and that could mean saddling Texas with anyone from UTEP, to Baylor, to Houston, to the fiesty nightbirds of Rice. Yeah, that’s a definite possibility–just depends who is elected, and who their alma matter is.

      Also, what’s interesting is that the other big player (not as big as Nebraska, mind you) being left out of discussion is Oklahoma. Other than the SEC, there’s no real place for them to go if the Big XII crumbles. Mind you, I’m not shedding any tears considering their shenanigans and bedfellows since the Big XII was formed, but it’s still interesting to note they’re, more or less, twisting in the wind here.


      1. duffman


        I offered the following at some point in the past..


        a) Big 10 sweeps – T,A&M,NU,UM, and KU

        b) SEC sweeps – T,A&M,OU, and OSU – B10 gets NU,KU,UM,??

        c) Pac 10 sweeps – T,A&M,OU,OSU,CU, and KU – B10 get NU & UM

        I would not like it, but see c) as most likely as Texas will get the following benefits..

        1) academic prestige
        2) unequal revenue sharing
        3) better weather
        4) better minor sports in baseball and women’s basketball
        5) with 6/10 split texas feels more at home
        6) SEC has Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, and Auburn.. Big 10 could have tOSU,PSU,UM,NU, and ND.. Pac10 has USC, now you are Mack Brown and wanting a shot at a NC EVERY year.. what conference gives you the best odds?


        1. zeek

          If I may, I think the uneven revenue sharing bit is vastly overplayed.

          Uneven revenue sharing is a necessity in the Big 12 due to much smaller markets relative to Texas, but not so much in the Big 10 or SEC. The uneven revenue sharing would net Texas say $3M extra over the lower teams in the Pac-10.

          I think we all can agree that Texas joining the Big Ten would offer it a lot more than just $3M over the lower Pac-10 teams due to the Big Ten’s much larger population footprint.

          I would think Texas would be fine with equal revenue sharing as opposed to 50% unequally shared if it didn’t have to carry the whole league’s revenue as it currently does with the Big 12.

          I agree that a Big 10 or Pac-10 sweep is most likely; the academics of the SEC still seems to be a deal breaker, but the rest of the terms seem to be equal to me.

          I still think the Big Ten has the best odds if it grabs Nebraska/Missouri (and probably Kansas) because those three would offer Texas/A&M a chance to at least re-create their own division. If Texas ends up joining the Pac-10 they’ll probably only go with Colorado from the Big 12 as opposed to Nebraska/Missouri (and maybe even Kansas).


          1. Richard

            I don’t know if Texas will go for equal revenue sharing even if it means greater absolute dollars in the SEC. I think Texas’s ideal is to keep TAMU, TTech, OU, and OSU all with them in the same conference (in part for travel, in part so they can police them) and with unequal revenue sharing, regardless of the dollar amount. Think of it in recruiting terms:
            Right now, they’re the biggest dog in Texas. Sure, a recruit could go to LSU or the Big10, but they would play hardly any games in Texas. If Texas, TAMU, and the Oklahoma schools go to the SEC, suddenly, all those schools (and LSU) have the same resources as Texas, and recruits will still get to play a bunch of games in/around Texas. That’s why I think a merger with the P10 (with unequal revenue sharing) is still most likely, despite the distance. In any case, in a P/W 16/20, Texas would play hardly any games outside of it’s current Big12 footprint, so distance wouldn’t be such a big deal.


          2. zeek

            But what if only A&M can go with Texas? What would Texas decide to do then?

            Personally, I think we’re only going to see 14 team leagues out of this at a maximum.

            Thus, if we assume that the Pac-10 takes Utah and Colorado; the Big Ten takes Nebraska or Missouri; where do you think Texas/A&M go?

            I can see your point under a 16-20 team conference sweep scenario. But let’s take that off the able for a moment because the Pac-10 requires unanimous voting and the Big Ten hasn’t had an easy deal with expanding either the past 20 years.


          3. Richard

            The Pac10 veto is fairly easy to get around. All that has to happen is for USC to announce that they’re going to withdraw from the Pac10 and team up with Texas (and it’s buddies) to start a new Western Conference. All current Pac10 schools are welcome. I doubt any would refuse to come.


          4. duffman


            it depends on the value of texas today vs texas + usc in a new contract or network. My guess is such a combination could double or triple current values..

            in multiple posts I have said, 12 or 16 as anything not one of the two does not work as well. the day the Big 10 says 13, by default it is saying 16 (wether they admit it or not the signal is LOUD and CLEAR).


            a) I agree with the “policing” thing

            b) I agree with the USC action


    2. Playoffs now, why does it have to be a super conference of 24 teams? What about bringing over Texas, A&M, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska to form 16? Look what that leaves for divisions:

      (WEST) Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern
      (EAST) Michigan, The Ohio State University, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Penn State.

      By the time you set up your OOC games to include some in state schools and Oklahoma, Texas could still play 8 games in the state of Texas. Why is that no doable?

      I have written a whole article on this topic that is too big to post here (and I’ve have referenced this before in this space). If you haven’t seen it and are interested in the details, it can be found at:

      (WEST) Texas, Texas A&M, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Northwestern
      (EAST) Michigan, The Ohio State University, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Penn State.


        1. arby

          Albino’s observation makes sense, but the other thing to consider here is the impact on the schools that be moved to join the big cluster of new entries if they all land in the west or east. Can you get Iowa, Wisky & Minny to vote yes if their new reality means seeing the newbies at the expense of Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois, etc. Same could apply for tOSU if they wound up needing to allocate slots for Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, etc. That’s why I think ultimately we’ll need to some combination of east and west.


    3. Mike R

      The key thing I gather is that Texas does not see itself and does not want to brand itself as a “southern school.” Texans prefer to use “southwestern” or even “western” when asked to describe their home region. So the choice for Texas is to link up with a western conference — the Pac 10 — or a “national” conference — the Death Star incarnation of the Big 10. To join the SEC would set back UT’s self-image and branding. So I don’t think its likely to happen.


      1. duffman

        Mike R,

        as stated before I have been to austin and love it, but the rest of the state might look like this..

        or this..

        and no I am not trying to start a political flame war so just say NO to trolls.. just going back to my LIKE follows LIKE concept fostered severals blogs back..

        Again, STATE schools can be influenced by politicians, who can be influenced by special interests and voters. Not saying either side is right, just pointing out that it happens. sorta like hot dogs come in 8 packs and buns come in 10 packs – so they can sell you multiple packages at a time.. the sneaky bas$ards! 😉


  15. Ron

    Rutgers first football game as a member of the Big Ten should be against Minnesota in Piscataway. They can play for the “Long Island Guy” trophy. This would be a gold statue depicting a man vaguely resembling Paul Tagliabue waving a right-handed fist while holding a tennis racket in his left hand. The final score of each game of the series will be engraved on the statue’s backside.


      1. Ron

        Tagliabue did mention the Big Ten Network in his original comments. My mental image of “Long Island Guy” has him wrapping up his Saturday morning tennis game, then jumping in his private helicopter which whisks him directly over to Piscataway to attend the Gophers and Scarlet Knights game in person. Hopefully he remembers to set his DVR to record the telecast off BTNetwork before he heads off for tennis. Life is so hectic!


  16. Not much to add other than thanking Frank for restating the obvious and throwing some much-needed cold water on some insane speculation:

    Throughout this process, I’ve corresponded with many Texas alums (NOT the T-shirt fans that just care about football) and they’re pretty much unanimous in stating that the UT administration will NEVER entertain any thought of joining the SEC. It cannot be underestimated how much the academically-minded administrators at Texas loathe the thought of the SEC. I think about this every time I see a columnist wrongly assume that “Texas = South” and therefore “Texas = SEC”, when in reality UT likens itself to be more like Berkeley or Michigan as opposed to any of the SEC schools.

    This UT alum/season ticket holder/donor whole-heartedly agrees.


    1. Playoffs Now!

      During the draft Saturday, some coach or AD (I think it was Mack Brown) said something to the effect of: When meeting with groups, I always start off with “Thank you, but please don’t tell us how to run our program.” Of course he said it far more diplomatically, but I was still surprised by how blunt he was.

      Now, you could be right and I could be wrong (or vice-versa) but a t-shirt with tickets and some dough doesn’t necessarily have much pull in this for such a momentous decision. If ND can defy their alums, UT can do so in a heartbeat.

      But I still strongly dispute that there is a clear wall against going to the SEC among the UT base. Is there a preference for the P10? Yes. SOME feeling strongly against considering the SEC? Yes. But the majority opinion I’ve run into is that the P10 is preferred and the SEC wis an option they could live with. Playing LSU every year, the guarantee of playing for the title if you win conference, and UT exposing the often overrated frauds like AL and FL gets many of them (and I) excited and open to the possibility.


      1. @PN:

        My stating that I am a donor/alum/STH was meant to assert that I am someone who is more knowledgeable about what Texas may or may not do than the casual t-shirt fans who care about football, but not the university, to which Frank referred and was not meant to assert that I somehow spoke for all UT alums, given my status as such.

        We must hang around different groups of alums/fans, as few I’m aware of seem particularly thrilled at the prospect of heading east. That being said, I think you help my argument when you state that the UT administration will ignore the alumni base (other than Tom Hicks and Joe Jamail, of course) to do what is right for the school. And, in my eyes, no matter how many alums/fans who might exist who would get excited about a move to the SEC, the administration will ignore them in a heartbeat if the conference doesn’t meet its academic demands.


        1. duffman


          2 questions..

          1) how much pull does JerryWorld have??

          I ask as he played for Arkansas in the old SWC and Arkansas has now joined the SEC..

          2) do hicks and jamail have much pull?

          I ask as jamail has business partners in SEC country.. do not know about hicks..


          1. @duff:

            (1) Jerry Jones is irrelevant when it comes to all things University of Texas.

            (2) Keep in mind that the Longhorns play at Joe Jamail Field at Darryl K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. I have no idea how much THAT donation costs, but, yeah, I imagine he has some pull. My parenthetical reference to Jamail and Hicks was somewhat in jest, but if there were any alums who might have a slight bit of influence it’d be them. That being said, I can’t imagine that UT’s future conference alignment will be determined by the fact that one of its more prominent alums/donors has business partners in one particular part of the country.


          2. Oh, as for Hicks, I would imagine that his recent financial problems might have some sort of impact on how much pull he has nowadays, but he was supposedly a prominent back of hiring Mack Brown back when Gary Barnett was perceived as the hottest potential hire in the country.


          3. duffman


            thanks for the info on jones and hicks..

            as I said before, business makes strange bedfellows. add politics to the mix, and it can get even stranger. as average folks we see what we see, but who really know what deals get made at the top levels..

            again Big 10 goes to 12, no big deal..

            at Big 16, it is a chess game or a game of RISK as pointed out by several previous posters. my guess is that no posters here are holding said dice. When you are talking 16 team conferences, you are admitting the power of money and egos on decision making. Which is why I keep looking at corporate power once it goes past 12.

            ps.. wow for hicks if he got brown instead of barnette! as for brown I thought he was a Vandy or FSU grad that came from Tulane and UNC before landing at Texas..


          4. TheBlanton

            Jones not that irrelevant to Texas.

            1. Arkansas backed out of home/home with UT to take part in lucrative neutral Jerrybowl with A&M.

            2. The Cotton Bowl will be a BCS bowl VERY soon.


          5. @Kyle:

            I’m not sure there’s any individual source, but it’s widely assumed in Texas that the Cotton Bowl, financially backed by Jones and now played in the best modern football stadium in the country, will make a serious run at becoming a BCS bowl when the next window of opportunity for doing so opens up. Whether that’s feasible, and whether the BCS club would remain closed to other bowls, is unknown.

            @ TheBlanton:

            Jerry is relevant via a Butterfly Effect sort of analysis for aspects of UT’s athletic programs, as would be influential alums at many major schools, but he’s not relevant in the least for the primary discussion topic of this blog, the future conference affiliation of UT.


          6. TheBlanton

            That is one BIG ass butterfly. Without BYU and Arkansas on the schedule, UT finishes behind OU in 3 way tie for big 12 South in 2008. With those two games, UT’s SOS pushes them ahead of OU in BCS standings and into the MNC against Florida.

            Oklahoma played BYU, Arky played A&M, TxTech played Baylor, all last year in the regular season, IN Jerrydome’s FIRST year. Jones is already having a HUGE impact on the Big XII and Texas. He might decide to ease up, but that is not really his style. He is actively lobbying for a BCS bowl, what conference affiliation does it appear that he would be looking at first?


          7. @TheBlanton:

            I’m not following your argument re the 2008 schedule. Texas played and destroyed Arkansas in Austin, and BYU was never anywhere near Texas’ schedule for the season.

            In 2009, Texas was to have payed a return visit to Arkansas, but the Hogs canceled the game. I don’t think Texas fans shed too many tears.

            As for BYU, maybe you’re confusing BYU with Utah, as, years ago, 2008 would have seen the third game of a two-and-one between Texas and Utah in Austin, but Utah canceled that series well before it ever began, ostensibly due to scheduling complications which emerged after the MWC added TCU and the corresponding extra conference game.


          8. duffman


            “That is one BIG ass butterfly.”

            Thank you for the image….

            now when i think of jerry, I have an image of Mothra in my head….



          9. duffman


            thanks for the link..

            2 points in article goes back to what I said here several blogs ago..

            a) 2 + 1 for the BIG 2 or BIG 3 (BIG 16 / PAC 16 / SEC 16).

            b) that a BIG 3 (when formed) could leave the others and form the BMF’s.


      2. allthatyoucantleavebehind

        You were watching PSU’s blue-white game and Paterno told Herbie and Brent Musberger what he says to alums when he speaks.

        “I want your money, not your opinion.” It got some rousing laughter from everyone and the statements, “Only Joe could get away with that!”


        1. Q

          His second best line was when Scuseberger(kudos to someone previously) called Joe a legend, and Joe replied, “only because I made it through four years with Mlllen.”


  17. Playoffs Now!

    From their point of view, what might the SEC want:

    1) Texas market – big payoff, low risk, good fit
    2) ND – big payoff, low risk, decent fit
    3) Northeast market – potential big payoff, big risk, questionable fit
    4) the edges (schools like VT, FSU/Clem, MO, KS, OU, NC, Duke) – relatively low payoff, low risk, good fit

    For cable TV/footprint, the only big return targets outside the current B10+ and SEC are the northeast, VA/Carolinas, Texas, and the west coast (the potential for the P10 to shoot themselves in their foot puts that potentially in play.) Everything else is just nibbling at the margins, though one can sometimes get decent returns with the right collection of edge additions.

    So the best options I see for the SEC are:

    1) UT, aTm, TT, and OU
    2) ND, VT, FSU or Clem (using the NE argument of marquee and balance over footprint), OU
    3) VT, NC, Duke, MD or FSU or Clem
    4) VT, FSU or Clem, OU, TCU or UH or even Baylor
    5) VT, 3 of MD, Rut, CT, Syr. And this option might be #2, based on market size and potential though it is riskier
    6) some 4 combo of VT, WV, MD, NC, Duke, Clem, FSU, Mia, GT, MO, KS, OU, OK St, TCU, UHou, Baylor, Cin. Obviously several of those are pretty unlikely.

    Which is why if B10+ is going beyond 12 to 16, they would be wise to lock up either ND, the northeast, or both.

    Or go all out to 24 in an alliance/merger with the cream of the P10/B12. Then the 12-team eastern division basically functions as its own conference, while creating an unsurpassed BCS academic super conference, expanding the BTN nationally, and getting the biggest financial windfall possible. With the east division basically functioning as its own conference, in some ways it becomes in effect only a one school expansion that doesn’t alter the balance or cohesion of the current B10+. Perhaps the separation goes so far as to allow uneven revenue sharing in the west division.

    In that case the SEC would probably also go to 24, perhaps staying unchanged but adding a separate SEC2 division of two 6-team subdivisions that might be a gobbling up of ACC and BEast teams. A third, relatively poor, leftover 24 or two or three 12-school conferences might round things out. Or a SEC unchanged plus an SEC2 with east and a west (TCU, UH, +) subdivision if the ACC creates a 24 alliance with a new/retooled western conference.


    1. duffman

      Playoffs Now..

      I keep saying this.. but Duke would be a negative in the football war..

      Duke vs SEC in football.. where would the value be??

      UNC vs SEC in football.. I can see added value there..

      long term I keep wondering about OSU and T Boone Billion dollar push

      OSU is one of only 5 Sun Grant Colleges (Cornell, OSU, Oregon St, SDSU, and Tennessee) that are backed by the Depts of Transportation, Energy. and Agriculture via Congress. We have discussed future values not yet represented, and surely this might be one. What I find odd is that the Big 10 footprint is represented by SDSU as UT has the SEC footprint, Oregon St has the Pac 10, OSU has the Big 12, and Cornell has the east. Anybody know how/why the Big 10 did not get a school for its own footprint? Especially in light of the fact that the Big 10’s composition is almost exclusively Land Grant schools?


    2. This is crazy. There simply is no way a union 0d 20 or 24 teams can even work. I have written about 2 models for 16 teams that I think is even questionable. People who suggest these things IMO do not really understand the Big 10’s one for all, all for one mentality. Half of the B12 schools have few if any R&D contracts (membership and sharing of resources with the CIC would be an issue). This would be crazier than the 3 year WAC experiment that should not be forgotten.

      I wrote about the WAC’s history and the possibility of the Big 10 expanding to 16 teams just a few days ago which you might find useful in your 20-24 team analysis. I think that’s too unwieldy, would leave too many chefs in the kitchen, and their’s just no way something like that could work. Last article can be found at:


    3. Vincent

      So the best options I see for the SEC are:

      1) UT, aTm, TT, and OU
      2) ND, VT, FSU or Clem (using the NE argument of marquee and balance over footprint), OU
      3) VT, NC, Duke, MD or FSU or Clem
      4) VT, FSU or Clem, OU, TCU or UH or even Baylor
      5) VT, 3 of MD, Rut, CT, Syr. And this option might be #2, based on market size and potential though it is riskier
      6) some 4 combo of VT, WV, MD, NC, Duke, Clem, FSU, Mia, GT, MO, KS, OU, OK St, TCU, UHou, Baylor, Cin. Obviously several of those are pretty unlikely.

      Perhaps the SEC wouldn’t be interested in all four of the ACC’s southern tier, but at least two of them — Clemson and Florida State — would jump in a heartbeat. (Georgia Tech may still have issues with the SEC dating back to its departure from the conference, plus there’s the issue of academics. Miami is too northern-oriented for the SEC.)

      So who would be the other two, were the SEC to want to grow to 16? West Virginia is contiguous to SEC state Kentucky, travels well, and has a football-oriented culture that would mesh with the SEC. And for #16, Virginia Tech, which could renew its rivalry with WVU and begin new ones with Tennessee and Kentucky. There might be heck to pay from UVa people after what happened in 2003, but football reigns at Tech and they wouldn’t care what folks in Charlottesville thought.

      Suddenly, the ACC is down to nine members and drastically weakened, and Maryland (which would have no interest in the SEC) would hope room is still open in the Big Ten.


      1. duffman


        i live in the borderlands.. WVU and Duke out.. WVU 1.8 pop state, and Duke has no football or basketball following (duke does not travel). I could see UNC + NC State as both could be middle tier football with strong basketball and UNC DOES travel.

        I agree on your assessment of Miami.. and for your 4 way of WVA and Va Tech to work, Vandy would have to leave the SEC, as their current rivals are UK and UT (assuming a 4 pod system it only leaves 1 slot). Also in women’s basketball it would be hard to break up the 3 schools, men’s too (I know women’s basketball – but last year UL was in NC game, UT + VU + UK + Xavier all within a few hours drive, and all good).

        The first thing is what happens to the Big 12 4 (UT, A&M, OU, and TT or OSU? If they go to the Big 10 or Pac 10, then the ACC as we know it will implode.. In an earlier post I suggested UNC + NC State / UVA + Va Tech as the 4, that would leave maryland for the big 10 and should be decent fit for PSU pod in Big 16.

        In expansion of SEC.. UL = WVU = 98% impossible, UK already owns Kentucky market, and WVU just does not have a large enough population. It would be like saying the adds for the Big 16 would include Louisville and Iowa State. So the SEC could take 8 ACC members and weaken it further.


    1. @Hopkins Horn – You need to post some type of comment in order to subscribe to the comment threads by email (it’s the only way it can be done under this WordPress platform), so people that just want to subscribe without having to write a brand new substantive comment just post “adding” or something else short.


        1. Brent

          Easier to get 1000 emails than have to go back through the entire thread whenever you want to find the new stuff since you could end up with a new post as a reply to the very top post.


  18. Frank, I do have a question about SEC expansion and I can’t seem to get information about this on the net. You are right that Texas would be seriously concerned about the academic standing of many of the SEC schools (also very few of the SEC schools command big R&D dollars). I also wonder just how they really make additional money by adding new markets when they are on fixed contracts with ESPN and CBS. Do you know how these contracts in fact work? Expansion is profitable for the Big 10 because they own their own Network (51% of it to be precise), so that expansion means more total households, subscriber fees, etc. But the SEC has already negotiated fixed amounts (or at least that is my understanding), so adding households would appear to be a windfall for ESPN & CBS. What do you know about this?


    1. duffman


      in earlier posts this was discussed, and opinion seemed to hit the following points..

      a) SEC / ESPN might have a clause for change
      b) if the SEC partnered with ESPN, the way the Big 10 did with FOX it could be mutual agreement to alter / reform SEC/ESPN agreement
      c) contracts are made to be broken
      d) if 16 team conferences are on the table, things change


      1. Duffman, I thought about that possibility too, there are always opt out clauses in contracts. If those do not exist though, breaking a contract for parties with billions of dollars in assets gets messy and would be tied up in court forever.


        1. duffman


          agreed.. but play devils advocate and the SEC picks up Tx,A&M,OU, and OSU/TT it would be in the best long term interest for the SEC and ESPN to control the content (Fox already has the BTN). ESPN is going to want 2 of the BIG 4 (CA,NYC,TX, and FL) locked up in their footprint, so will be willing to deal.

          In fact it might be interesting to see how this plays out in a content and turf war. Fox will want Texas in the big 10, and ESPN will probably not if they feel they can get a better deal with the SEC. The plot thickens tho.. and in the end we are all going to get jacked on cable bills. 😉


    2. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Mike – the teams added would have to be enticing enough for CBS & ESPN to agree to negotiate. Footprint really doesn’t matter to the SEC. See my post below. SEC-TV is in 15 states outside the SEC footprint right now.

      The SEC explored its own network, like the BTN, but ESPN jumped in with the guaranteed deal. At the time, nobody knew the BTN would be such a cash cow.

      The thing that most people miss out on the SEC contracts though, is that each school can market its inventory after CBS, the ESPN family, and the SEC-TV syndication package get their picks. So in the SEC package, there is true revenue sharing, and each school can still sell some inventory and keep that money for themselves.


  19. ezdozen

    Sort of off topic, but does anyone have a link to research dollars by school from 1 to infinity?

    Returning to topic… try this for a conspiracy theory, Frank. What if the Big 10 is in between a rock and a hard place with Fox on the Big 10 Network. Think about it as a lawyer…. if the Big 10 as majority owner fails to maximize value in the Big 10 Network by NOT expanding… does FOX have a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty (and who knows what contractual obligations are out there)? Perhaps FOX is positioned in a win-win… either the Big 10 expands giving them more money now or the Big 10 fails to expand, resulting in a lawsuit that is ultimately settled with an extension of the Big 10/FOX relationship.

    In the meantime, the Big 10 is engaging in all of this research to prove that a major expansion is NOT viable because this will help defend any claims for breach by FOX. If they end up with Notre Dame, so be it. If, in the meantime, the Big 10’s announcement causes the seismic shift in conferences, then the Big 10 will do what it needs to do… adding 0, 1, 3, 5 teams… to position for the future.

    Otherwise, I agree with everyone else that delay only hurts the Big 10. If the Big East can sufficiently scare all of its members that the Big 10 is taking 3 of 4 teams and any one of you will be left out… all 4 might have an incentive to do something to prevent being the 4th team left out.

    Maybe the Big 12 convinces its schools that the Big 10 is not taking all 3 of Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas and restructures proactively somehow. Maybe the SEC tries to negate all of this by taking Texas, Oklahoma, Florida St. and Clemson. Maybe the ACC gets worried about any or all of this and gobbles up UConn, Syracuse, Rutgers, and Pitt to gain the entire NE market.

    I just fail to see any benefit to delay if this is in the Big 10’s best interests. So maybe it is not in their best interests to expand just because FOX is trying to force their hand.

    All speculation, of course. Comment away…


    1. Bob Devaney

      “if the Big 10 as majority owner fails to maximize value in the Big 10 Network by NOT expanding… does FOX have a lawsuit for breach of fiduciary duty (and who knows what contractual obligations are out there)?”

      Ohhh, that’s a damn good point. Kudos to you, Sir.

      Also, to add one other (plausible) scenario–if the Big XII is raided for Nebraska (only sure bet) and one/two other schools, the Texas schools could just give the middle finger to the northern schools and resurrect the SWC. Hell, you’ve got plenty of Div-1 A schools:

      -Texas Tech
      -Texas A&M
      -Texas State (gearing up now)
      -Okie Lite

      That keeps travel costs down, a network can be easily arranged, it keeps in-state talent closer to the vest, and it has enough teams to allow for a title game at the Deathstar in Arlington.


      1. duffman


        a) how can you forget the fightin mean joe greenes!

        b) if it goes back to a texas only old SWC, you lose tv footprints. so my guess is things erode for texas (and her pretty friend A&M).. *nudge nudge wink wink* 😉


      2. Albino Tornado

        I don’t think resurrecting the SWC is what Texas really wants; I’m not sure, however, that if they continue to play hardball with things like the Longhorn Sports Network, the SWC isn’t they’re going to get.


      3. TheBlanton

        I’d like to see the Big XII give a look at New Mexico, UNLV, BYU, And Utah.

        Realign the new Big 16 in an northeast / southwest fashion, reuniting the Big 8, or use the pod system.

        The Big 12 then realistically could threaten to drop Kansas St. and Iowa St. should Kansas/Nebraska/Missouri decide to leave the big 12.


    2. duffman


      a) you sir have a much more legal mind than mine.. kudos.. as the question of the FOX issue would not occur to me.. because..

      b) delay does no good to anybody, as any conference outside the Big 10 and SEC must worry until things start to tumble. what president or AD is gonna want to sweat that out for a year or two.


    3. zeek

      There’s no breach of fiduciary duty suit by a minority owner in this kind of circumstance.

      See Verizon Wireless and how Verizon Communications with its 55% stake only allows it to pay down debt and not pay out dividends to Verizon Comm. as well as Vodafone with 45% stake.


      1. ezdozen

        I tend to agree that the lawsuit is probably not successful in the end, but there is more than enough to make a credible lawsuit last for a few years.

        After $25M in legal fees, the parties will settle. Too much to lose for both parties to actually have one declared a winner–meaning that the other is declared a loser.


        1. Richard

          Um yeah. If Fox wants a continuing business relationship with the Big10, suing them is probably not a good way to go about it. Considering that the Big10 is majority owner and also provides 100% of the BTN’s contents, there are a lot more ways for the Big10 to screw over Fox than for Fox to screw over the Big10. Especially when you consider that a lawsuit will likely get Fox nothing positive while it would guarantee a negative relationship.


          1. ezdozen

            Who says there needs to be a lawsuit for the attorneys on both sides to be advising a course of conduct?

            I suspect that the contractual arrangement between the parties spells it out just fine anyway. Nobody expected that there would be THIS MUCH success.

            You are not thinking like a lawyer here. The fundamental flaw in Frank’s analysis is this–everyone needs to think like a University President should be translated to “everyone needs to think like a University President that is getting legal advice.” Once lawyers get involved, things get different.


          2. zeek

            No, ezdozen; your analysis is way off base.

            If you think about it as a lawyer then you’d know intuitively that in running a business, there is no legal rule that requires a corporation to take risks to maximize profit.

            The management of a corporation has discretion to run a business and determine what risks are prudent.

            Fox or any corporate entity would not jeopardize a relationship over a prima facie invalid case such as “the corporation didn’t take this risk to maximize profit.”

            You would get laughed out of town. There would be no settlement. The Big Ten schools have the discretion to carefully consider and determine whether expansion is in the interest of the Big Ten network since they own the majority of the equity.

            Fox has NO say in the running of the Big Ten network other than what the Big Ten schools allow it to say. This is how corporate law works.

            The only time when “profit maximization” is required is a specific application of M&A doctrine in which a corporation that has already made a decision to sell the business must take steps to ensure it gets the best price. Thus, it has a fiduciary duty to consider the best offer even if it has already agreed to one after the corporation has made a decision to sell.


          3. mushroomgod

            zeek interesting discussion.

            Certainly it’s easy to see potential conflicts between the interests of the Big 10 and Fox. For example, assume the Big 10 presidents wanted to add Rutgers, Pitt, and Missouri. Fox might want to add Syracuse and Nebraska in place of Pitt and Missouri, for market purposes. I’m sure Big 10 membership is a matter left in the presidents’ hands, but I hope that was specifically spelled out in the legal work. And even if Fox has no legal say in the matter, how willing are you to piss off a 49% partner when the decision’s close anyway? Interesting.


          4. ezdozen

            Zeek, I am a lawyer. Pretty much ONLY able to think like a lawyer now.

            The law is different in every state. Not sure how you can confidently opine regarding “legal rules” in a vacuum.
            Regardless, the whole basis of such a lawsuit would be that the exercise of discretion was improper or unduly self-motivated. From there, there are several different legal labels (causes of action) that it could fall under.

            The other issue is threat of litigation vs. actual litigation. If Fox asked the Big 10 to look into expansion for the benefit of their joint venture, the Big 10 would be advised by counsel to do so. Fox does not need to file a lawsuit to get this ball rolling. They do not even have to demand or otherwise do anything that would sour the relationship. It is the advice to the Big 10 by their own counsel that would get the ball rolling.

            My point is suppose that this is what happened and the purpose of the due diligence here is to show that they are engaged in a proper exercise of discretion by accumulating the data necessary to make a decision–even if that decision is “no expansion.”

            Finally, if you think Fox would be content to watch the Big 10 say “no thanks” to an additional few billion in profits because of tradition, I think that is naive. The Big 10 cannot cut Fox out of the deal. The Big 10 would not shoot itself in the foot to punish Fox for disagreeing–even to the point of a lawsuit. Fox has its own interests to protect. And this excludes the people who have say in what either entity does, such as the states under a financial crush.


          5. greg

            If you think Fox may sue to force the B10 to expand, why haven’t they already sued to force them to relax their admission standards for student/athletes? The B10 could maximize revenues by letting in any excellent athlete who is literate.


          6. zeek

            I happen to be a lawyer as well and just looking at the structure of the Big Ten Network, it is a joint venture between the Big Ten Conference and Fox, and the Big Ten Conference schools own the equity among themselves.

            The fact that the Big Ten’s 51% equity stake is shared equally among the schools indicates that Fox has no control over who the membership of the Big Ten conference is, since the Big Ten Network operates as a separate entity.

            Fox administers the channel on behalf of the joint venture, but the Big Ten schools determine their own conference membership and determine who they will share their equity with; thus, Fox can politely “ask” them to expand, but Fox only owns 49% of the Big Ten Network joint venture which has no impact on the “parent” organization, the Big Ten conference.

            The structure of the deal makes it so that the Big Ten schools determine what schools are going to be the content of the channel. A Big Ten school could easily switch out of the Big Ten Conference and Fox would have no recourse in that situation either.

            In any case, the Big Ten schools have to vote to admit a member and sell them or give them a part of their equity in order for them to become an equal partner in the Big Ten Network.

            Fox cannot force any of these things to happen. The Big Ten Network is built as a joint venture that is entirely separate from the Big Ten Conference; that is all that matters.


          7. duffman

            ez and zeek,

            I am not a lawyer, but watching the back and forth is quite fascinating..

            My question is will I be able to still afford my seats when it is all said and done? A dear friend in their early 70’s (lifelong fan now living on a fixed income) was not able to hold on (see also make larger “donation”) and now must watch at home.

            Humm .. maybe this is how the BTN will drive future value?


          8. ezdozen

            Zeek… you are missing the point. I defend 99% of the lawsuits I get involved in. Would this Fox lawsuit scare me? Not really. But would it perhaps give the Big 10 some pause? Yes. The issue is whether Fox could get leverage here out of the Big 10’s conflict of interest. From there, is is just how you plead it.

            While the Big 10 solely controls its membership, the Big 10’s decisions with respect to that membership directly impact the value of the Big 10 Network.

            If the Fox ownership is permanent, then that changes the analysis. Now both Fox and the Big 10 are in it for the long term.

            But my understanding from other posts is that Fox’s stake expires at some point. So what happens if the Big 10 refuses to expand… refuses to expand… refuses to expand… and then does it a few years after Fox’s ownership expires? In that scenario, you can bet Fox’s attorneys will be all over it.

            Conversely, if the Big 10 does due diligence every 5 years and determines that expansion is not prudent, this helps the situation.

            And what if Rutgers applies for Big 10 membership tomorrow. If the Big 10 rejects, that negatively impacts the value of the Big 10 Network. While the Big 10 cannot control a school leaving, it can control whether a school is added. It can’t just wait out the Fox ownership before doing so.


          9. Richard

            I’m pretty certain the rights deal between the Big10 and BTN is for 25 years. I can’t imagine Fox loses ownership of their 49% stake of the BTN after 25 years. That’d be an ownership structure I doubt exists in this country. In any case, at some point, you have to stop thinking like a lawyer, and think like a businessman. No one’s going to sue anyone or force anyone to put on a Kabuki show when no good could come out of it and only a worsening of the relationship.


        1. zeek

          Well, right now most of Verizon Wireless’ earnings go towards debt held by Verizon Comm. (so it is as if Verizon Comm. receives 100% dividend payments); thus it is almost as if Verizon Wireless is wholly owned by Verizon Comm. This will come to an end once most of the debt from Verizon Wireless’ acquisitions is paid down (should occur within next few years).

          Right now, Vodafone is essentially not really earning anything off of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless. Yes it is a very valuable stake probably worth $50-60bn (since all of Verizon Wireless is probably worth $120bn).

          In the next few years though, Verizon Comm. will have to make some very tough decisions. Right now all of Verizon Wireless’ cash flows move to Verizon Comm. but it is such a big cash cow that all of the debt from acquisitions could be paid off in the next few years, in which case only 55% of Verizon Wireless cash flow would go to Verizon Comm. as opposed to nearly 100% right now because an actual dividend payout has to be split 55-45 based on share holding.

          Vodafone’s been biding its time and knows that the game will be up soon enough. Thus, we are likely to see some sort of Verizon Comm.-Vodafone deal where they merge or Vodafone sells its stake to Verizon Comm. The problem is Verizon Wireless is so big a part of each company, (it’s like 70% of Verizon Comm. and 40-50% of Vodafone) that they may be forced into a merger since neither would want to take on $50-70bn debt to buy the other side out.

          Didn’t really mean to go off on an aside, but the majority owner of an enterprise can pretty much do whatever it wants to in this kind of situation. The fact that Verizon Comm. essentially takes all of the cash flow off Verizon Wireless (by paying down debt instead of dividends equally) is perhaps the greatest example out there right now.


          1. ezdozen

            So perhaps the Verizon issue is because they can claim that paying down the debt is a long-term benefit to all owners. If the Big 10 had lent the BTN $100M and the Big 10 voted to pay back that debt… how could FOX argue otherwise? Pay now or pay later (plus interest). Or perhaps there is a contractual term that prevents a lawsuit of this ilk.

            Otherwise, I have seen far less meritorious breach of fiduciary duty claims filed.
            And that is just one legal theory.

            The bottom line is that once you partner with someone… your interest as a joint owner of that enterprise cannot be impaired because your private interests are different.

            The fact that some minority owner does not prevail in a lawsuit may speak as much to the issues raised by the attorneys, the proof elicited, the judge’s philosophy, the relationship between the parties, the willingness to settle, and numerous other factors.


  20. indydoug

    No university with even a small chance of joining the B10, with the possible exception of Texas, is going to make a move UNTIL the B10 has acted or advises that University it is no longer under consideration for B10 membership,IMHO.


    1. c

      Re waiting for Big 10 to decide (indydoug)

      This is all speculation and the Big 10 channel gives the Big 10 a unique first mover financial advantage.

      However other conferences are no doubt exploring their options of creating their own channels. This would be a multi-year undertaking that would require a strategy to attract an outside investor (like Fox for the Big 10) and agreements in place to secure optimum markets.

      If Texas is evaluating a Pac 10 or Western Alliance option, they may move in that direction bringing along a number of key schools: how many and who is in question.

      If the ACC is evaluating a conference channel and was to place a firm offer to 3-4 northeast schools, those schools might jump to the ACC due to affinity of being linked as a package of regional schools and to take advantage of an offer on the table rather than wait for the Big 10 to decide what it wants to do and the uncertainty that would entail.

      Most of these schools will not be able to move for at least one-two years and most would receive a reduced payout for at least the first 3 years of any move.

      In short, the Big 10 is attractive but affinity and desire to secure a stable future works in more than one way.


      1. PSUGuy


        Completely agree and I really think (ironically enough) that the truest long term threat to the BTN is not the SEC Network, but rather an ACC network that encompasses several BigEast schools that connects BC to the rest of the conference. If it were to get off the ground, it would have solid football and top notch basketball programs in every (or near every) major market along the eastern seaboard.

        Right now though that kind of product (ACC tv channel) is at least 5 years away from being competitive to the BTN as it is now and I think (as Frank and others have said) the cards are all on the Big10’s table. This is why I think right now (the “12-18 months decision making process”) is the most important period in Big10 (and arguably NCAA football) history.

        If the Big10 has enough drive and long range vision, they can do something that will make the SEC going to 12 teams and adding a championship game look like small potatoes by comparison.


        1. c

          Re possible ACC expansion (PSUGuy)

          Left to themselves, my impression is the ACC is happy as a close-knit southern based conference.

          Regardless of the financials, I see BC as currently an isolated island separate from the conference without adding the synergy one or more additional northeast teams might create.

          Now the issue of a conference channel comes into the picture. That requires investment but raises the larger issue of increasing program inventory and markets that might make such a channel work.

          Considering such a channel almost forces the conferences to consider their long term options.

          The ACC really only has one likely direction to expand which is north. There are 4 schools available that would meet their academic standards excluding ND.

          Thee Big 10 is aware of this as is the ACC. ND is also aware that if the Big 10 is considering 16 and if the ACC is considering 16, they almost certainly are running out of options.

          I see the issue of affinity as an important wildcard. Does the Big 10 want to expand east in a significant way? Does the ACC want to expand north in a significant way? The ACC with its tradition of basketball may find this an additionally interesting option. Does ND prefer the Big 10 or would it consider a move to the ACC if it could shape the choice of the expansion schools?

          Once the decision is made and the strategy is clear and the financials have been considered and the “9 game pod system” understood as a way to maximize interconference play, the odds may favor a move to 16.
          Or maybe not.

          A lot of conversations are no doubt going on behind the scenes. My guess is the Big 10 and Texas and ND and the ACC and the Pac 10 will increasingly have a clear idea of what opportunities are available and what they want to do.


        2. Richard

          Of the 4 major conference that will be left standing, I think the ACC would have the hardest time starting its own network. Florida and Georgia are definitely SEC country; the ACC wouldn’t be able to convince cable networks that they deliver those 2 states except for certain regions like the panhandle, S. Florida, and metro Atlanta. The Northeast is as fraught with peril as it is for the Big10, but even more so, since they wouldn’t be able to cycle brand names like PSU, OSU, and Michigan through (I think they’d need ND to join to have a shot at the NE). That leaves 3-4 states where they can promise the ACC channel would be everywhere: NC, Virginia, Maryland, and probably SC. That’s not a big footprint, and given their lack of brand names in football (which is what’s preventing them from getting the Big10/SEC-type money they’re seeking from the networks), that’s not too enticing to advertisers. Plus, Big10 partisans are all across the country, since we send alums to the East Coast, engineers to North Cal, and retirees to Arizona and Florida (while ACC fans can rarely be found outside ACC country). An ACC channel would be more successful than the Mtn, but I believe it would be closer to the MWC’s network than the BTN.


          1. duffman


            I think we agree on the ACC footprint and the value of football in the big picture. I can not remember if you posted that you grew up in SC.. If so do you still have family down there?

            As with the value of USC in the SC market, I have no idea? Have they made inroads with Holtz and Spurrier?


          2. PSUGuy

            Agree with all those points, but the ACC only needs to take those few schools available and provide the local sports programming. Once they achieve market penetration the ACC becomes the “home town” conference. Even if it isn’t as profitable it will prevent Big10 expansion into the area as there are no other schools available for consideration.

            Just another reason why I think an eastward expansion is more likely. Time will be running out on conferences that want to get large market teams (regardless of pedigree) to increase the viewership of the big programs they already have.


          3. Richard

            Hey Duffman,

            Nope, not associated with South Carolina in any way. There was some other poster who’s from there and now is in Indiana, I think.


  21. Albino Tornado

    What’s going to be so interesting about all of this is if a conference expansion occurs that is not limited in scope to ND joining the Big 10, it’s going to start a cascade/landgrab that’s going to go much, much faster than the SWC’s diaspora following Arkansas joining the SEC.

    Any Big East school leaving, especially a pair, would decimate the conference.

    Nebraska leaving the Big 12 would blow it up, as there would be zero presigious football programs left in the North, and revenue distribution changes accelerate Oklahoma’s and Texas’s search choices. Losing Colorado to the Pac-10 or Missouri loss to the Big 10 might be survivable, but another Texas school being added to replace them would cause tough decisions to have to be made about divisional balance and scheduling.

    My hope, as a Nebraska fan:

    NU/KU/MU to the Big 11
    Colorado, Texas, A&M to the Pac-N
    OU/Oklahoma State to the SEC
    KSU, ISU, Tech, and Baylor to C-USA/Mtn West/MAC, as appropriate.


  22. danallen2

    Depending on how hot the B10 is for eastern markets, a few BE schools could be proactive in this.

    3 of Pitt, RU, Cuse and UConn could say to the B10, take all 3 of us or none of us will go. That will be a bluff that requires a steady hand and incredible trust that none of the 3 will be peeled off, but it could work IF the Big10 really wants Eastern markets, as Paterno and Barry Alvarez have implied.

    Otherwise the B10 can say, come on down Missouri, Nebraska and BE school left out of the trio-who-make-demands.


    1. Josh

      And why would the Big 10 fall for this bluff? And it’s a bluff because a school like Rutgers, which has been begging for B10 membership more than any other school than Mizzou, is not going to say “Sorry, we can’t join unless you take Pitt and Syracuse too.” Rutgers isn’t going to turn down the Big Ten Network and games with Penn State and Michigan just out of loyalty to those Syracuse or UConn games.

      That’s the problem with all these “Save the Big East” scenarios–it assumes that Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse want to save the Big East. Maybe Syracuse does a little, but Rutgers and Pitt are acting like they can’t wait to bolt.

      There is no way to force the Big 10 to take schools they don’t want. Maybe Texas could force A&M, but I’m not sure the Big 10 wouldn’t want A&M anyway. If Rutgers/Pitt/Syracuse entered such a pact, either one of the schools would break it or the B10 would just say “Fine. If you don’t want to join, I’m sure Kansas does.”


      1. Rick

        I can tell you Rutgers will never make such a blood pact of “3 of us or none”. Neither would SU or Pitt. Neither would UConn. They are really ticked off at the BE for being so short sighted on dealing with the football scheduling problems and being so BB centric. There is also no love lost for Tagliabue and his comments. They (BE) admins are idiots and the whole Tags fiasco is the icing on the cake.


      2. OrangeAndTheCity

        I suspect Rutgers is a lock in either the 14/16 Scenario. All the Big Ten needs to do is tell Rutgers they’re very high on the short list and it would be enough for Rutgers to stay out of any Big East pact.


    2. PSUGuy

      I really don’t think there can or wll be any bluff. Cuse, Rutger, or UConn would join the Big10 in a heartbeat if asked, whether it was with others or not. It just adds so much for these programs/schools and as mentioned, the BigEast has not exactly been kind to them as far as football is concerned.

      As for Pitt…I have quite a few friends that graduated from there and to a man (and woman) they all preferred to join the ACC if it came down to leaving the BigEast. It wasn’t until I said “you realize schools like Northwestern or Indiana made almost twice what Texas did last year and almost 4 times what Pitt did” that you could see the realization of the kind decision that was being made in university presidents’ board rooms. It almost seemed as though they preferred to be a bigger fish in a smaller football pond and to join a conference with “stronger bball”.

      Point being, while I wouldn’t be surprised if Pitt were given an invite and accepted, I also wouldn’t be surprised if they went elsewhere (for reasons I totally do not agree with).


      1. Kyle

        I think this may be the difference between Basketball-first Pitt fans and Football-first Pitt fans. Most of my friends are football-first fans and would love the opportunity to play ohio state and penn state regularly as long as we maintain the annual WVU game. I have no interest in being a big fish in a small pond (or worse, a southern pond) and I like our chances toe-to-toe with any Big Ten team. Our academic qualifications and athletic balance seem to indicate the ACC would be a reliable back-up plan if we’re left out of the Big Ten expansion for whatever reason.


  23. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog these past few months regarding Big Ten expansion and the changing landscape of college athletics. As a sports & political junkie, conference expansion combines both interests like no other topic. As a fellow attorney, I greatly admire your analytical skills, powers of deductive reasoning, commitment to sports, and ability to blow off time for non-billable matters during the day. To top it off, I agree with your takes 95% of the time.

    I never felt like I had anything to contribute to the blog since I’m in SEC country, and until last week the SEC wasn’t really in the exapnsion armageddon conversation. Clearly, Mike Slive doesn’t like the idea of getting one-upped by Delaney.

    Now let’s discuss potential SEC expansion. I have to take issue with your assertion that SEC has no reason to expand if the Big Ten expands, unless the SEC expands its footprint.

    The SEC, like the Big Ten, has its marquee football games shown nationally on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2. The second tier SEC games are shown on the SEC Network, which is produced by ESPN and syndicated all over the country.


    The SEC Network goes well outside of the SEC footprint and has both over-the-air and cable affiliates, almost all of which are on the basic or expanded-basic tiers. The SEC Network already shows football games in in 15 states outside of its footprint in markets like NYC, LA, Chicago, Philly, DFW, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Madison, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Sacrament, Toledo, Wichita, and Springfield MO, just to name a few.

    While I do agree that money will be the primary factor for SEC expansion, just as it is in the Big Ten, I don’t think “expanding the footprint” is the key way for the SEC to expand the pie. While adding markets for the BTN is the primary motivation for Big Ten expansion, adding markets is not nearly as important for the SEC.

    The SEC has long-term agreements with CBS & ESPN, so those TV partners would have to be motivated to renegotiate. The only way they would want to renegotiate would be to allow the SEC to provide more compelling TV match-ups that would get higher ratings and create more ad revenue.

    While Florida State and Miami are already within the SEC footprint, they have 7 national championships between them over the last 30 years. When Florida State and Miami are competitive, people all over the country have watched and will watch. Oklahoma would also be a great expansion partner for the SEC since people all over the country will watch Oklahoma.

    Also, don’t dismiss possible SEC expansion including Texas. While the SEC’s academics aren’t on par with the Big Ten or Pac 10, the SEC’s academic reputation in better than the Big XII’s overall. Only the Mississippi schools aren’t top tier schools according to USN&WR. Vandy and Georgia actually have a higher ranking than Texas. Academically speaking, the SEC would be a move up from the Big XII.

    Furthermore, the SEC television agreements don’t preclude Texas stating their own “Longhorn Network.” Any games not picked up by the SEC Network for syndication are the property of the home team. LSU, for example, has an agreement with Cox Cable to show certain basketball, baseball and Olympic sports events.

    If the SEC could bring in Florida State/Miami and Texas/Texas A&M, or Texas/Texas A&M/Oklahoma and either Oklahoma State or Texas Tech, the SEC wins the competitive pissing match and may close the gap in the money pissing match too.


    1. duffman


      thanks for the post.. some things i had brought up earlier but would like your opinion from the sec side of things?

      a) having family in arkansas i mentioned the lsu vs ark rivalry – as it was my understanding that this had grown since ark joined the sec – it is football only or does it apply to sports across the board?

      b) say some combination of 4 teams move from the big 12 to the sec – how would the schools set up across the league?

      c) i had posted that if the big 10 shut the sec out of the west, that the sec would raid the ACC. my argument was to go for new markets (UNC, NC State, UVA, and Va Tech) as opposed to existing markets (FSU/UM) as florida already dominates the state. what do you think?

      d) how would lsu feel about getting the big 4 in the west? as ark was already in the swc, but lsu would have to develop all new rivals?



      1. Alan from Baton Rouge

        Duffman –
        a) The LSU/r-Kansas football rivalry is a little one-sided even though the Hogs have posted a few wins against my Tigers. We share a border but Arkansas is located in northwest Arkansas and LSU is located in southeast Louisiana. Fayetteville is 550 miles from Baton Rouge. In football, I can only think of one season when the outcome of the LSU/Arkansas game decided a spot in the SEC Championship game. In the past decade, the LSU/Auburn game decided the winner of the SEC West more times than not.

        Historically, LSU really doesn’t have a true rivalry game. LSU fans generally hate Alabama, as does the rest of the SEC. We also particularly hate Ole Miss, just on general principle.

        Baseball is big in Baton Rouge and in the SEC overall. The baseball rivalry with Arkansas is probably a little more developed. Both LSU and Arkansas have AAA-quality baseball stadiums with 10,000 seat capacities. Both teams also went to the College World Series last year with LSU knocking Arkansas out of the tournament and winning the national championship.

        Neither basketball team seems to be competitive at the same time, so a LSU/Arkansas basketball game is really just another game.

        b) Let’s say Florida State, Miami, Texas and Texas A&M joined the SEC. That’s easy as Florida State & Miami fit into the East and Texas & Texas A&M fit into the West. If all 4 came from the Big XII, Alabama & Auburn would probably shift from the West to the East. It might get a little complicated if all 4 teams came from the ACC/Big East. I would like Vandy & Kentucky to shift to the West myself, but neither would really want to separate from Tennessee.

        c) As I stated in my previous post, I don’t think new markets are as important to the SEC with regard to expansion. The syndicated SEC-TV is currently broadcast in every market in North Carolina. Picking up Virginia/DC area may make some money for ESPN, but for the SEC to force its TV partners to renegotiate, I think they need to propose a compelling slate of new games. I’m not sure that Va Tech and West Virginia fit the bill, but they might. LSU’s victory over Va Tech in 07 probably put LSU in the BCS Championship game against the Buckeyes. My Tigers play West Virginia this season.

        I’d have a hard time seeing any combination of the North Carolina schools (UNC/Duke/NC St./Wake Forest breaking up, but I certainly don’t pretend to know any more about ACC politics than I know about Big Ten politics.

        4) If all 4 teams in a proposed SEC expansion came from the west, ie Big XII South, I’d be fine with that. The SEC West would then ship Bama/Auburn to the East. LSU’s rivalry with Auburn has really only taken shape over the last 20 years. Losing Bama would be a double-edged sword. We love to hate the Gumps, but the rivalry has taken an unhealthy turn with our former coach now residing in Tuscaloosa.

        LSU has probably played more OOC games with Texas A&M than any other school, so there’s a rivalry waiting to be re-kindled. Adding Oklahoma would be fun as LSU defeated the Sooners for the 2003 BCS NC. If Oklahoma State were one of the teams, that would be interesting since Les Miles came to LSU by way of Stillwater. If its Texas Tech, LSU has some real history with Tommy Tuberville from his Auburn days. In baseball, LSU just defeated the Longhorns for the CWS championship.

        Bottom line – Following the SEC is currently a lot of fun. If the Big Ten shakes up the college landscape, I really think the SEC will respond, if CBS & ESPN are willing to pay for it. Either way, SEC will continue to be the home of great football, and most rabid and passionate fans in the country.


        1. duffman


          thanks for the insight.. FWIW.. I loved watching Dale and his freak defense.. and I thought they had a great team to watch in 86. I felt he got a raw deal from the NCAA about Earl. I love men’s & women’s basketball and watched the runs Sue and Pokey put together. Those lady tigers are a pretty competitive bunch and very fun to watch.


  24. chris7165

    Just my two cents to throw in. I’ve read all about the intangible things like AAU and CIC membership. The need to expand the BTN footprint to add televisions to the bottom line. It seems like everybody has some concoction of teams from this or that conference to help the Big 10 get to a magical number. What has been lost is the tangible thing of who is going to watch some of these teams. I can’t believe the B10 Presidents aren’t also considering the on field quality of some of the schools mentioned. We already have Indiana. Do we need more of that poor level of achievement by adding Rutgers, Pitt(which hasn’t been good since the Morino-Dorsett days,) UConn, Syracuse, Misouri, etc. These schools have had forever to be a player on the national stage and never made it. Why would they now?


    1. Paul

      Yes! I completely agree with this point, which is being lost underneath all the talk of markets and footprints.

      The great percentage of uninspiring teams that a conference has, the less respect the conference will receive, and the less fan interest.

      Teams that will enhance excitement about the conference: Texas, Nebraska, Notre Dame.

      Teams that will water down the product: Every other team under discussion.

      As a Michigan fan, I don’t want to have to give up watching my team play west-division Wisconsin and Iowa three out of every four years just so I can see my team play Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse, or, heaven forbid, U-Conn every season. That would kill the Big 10 for me.

      Just add Nebraska and be done with it for now!


      1. Paul

        To continue, here is my modest proposal. 12 teams, 2 divisions, 3 “rivalry” pairs per division (for the last regular season game of the year).

        Ohio State
        Michigan – THE GAME

        Penn State
        Michigan State – LAND GRANT TROPHY!!!!

        Indiana – OLD OAKEN BUCKET

        Illinois – LAND OF LINCOLN TROPHY

        Minnesota – PAUL BUNYAN’S AXE

        Nebraska – THIS WOULD BE A HUGE GAME

        Under an 8 game conference schedule, you would play your division rivals each season and play each team in the opposite division every other year.

        This plan would still resemble Big Ten football, and it increase excitement about the conference.


        1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

          Your 12 team league looks perfect. Switch Iowa/Nebraska for season finale with Iowa/Minny (the current finale game) and then Wiscy (who doesn’t have a finale game currently) plays Nebraska for an AWESOME new finale game.

          Oh, and the exlamation marks for the Land Grant Trophy…that was a joke right? We PSU fans certainly aren’t enamored with it.


      2. ezdozen

        Is this a serious post?

        I think Syracuse had as many Big 10 wins as U of M did last year. And the ‘Cuse is still rebuilding.

        And if we are going to start looking into the past… Syracuse and U of M split in the late 1990s when both were on equal footing.


        1. Paul

          It’s not about wins (which UM has more of than any other team). It’s about fan interest. Nationally, especially in the midwest, there is way more fan interest in Michigan than in Syracuse. It’s not even close.

          Bottom line: Michigan gets huge TV ratings. Nobody outside of alumni care much about Syracuse football. Sorry.


          1. OrangeAndTheCity

            It’s not about wins (which UM has more of than any other team).

            That was before you hired Greg Robinson… good luck with that.


      3. zeek

        Personally I agree with the two of you somewhat, but I think the rest of the schools are being used as chips in some sense.

        The two schools that the Big Ten really wants are Texas and Notre Dame. Those two schools are clearly the Big 10’s hope for a 12th spot after which no more expansion would be needed.

        The one school that has the same impact as Penn State’s addition other than those two is Nebraska. Nebraska is also the key to breaking up the Big 12 and forcing Texas to react.

        Thus, it would be prudent for the Big Ten to talk to Nebraska.

        Either way, we do have to realize though that Notre Dame won’t come in alone and Texas won’t come in alone. Thus, they’d each be coming in with some kind of partner.

        I.E. a Big Ten with Nebraska would try to grab Texas and A&M if it could, but then it would also try to grab Notre Dame and another school like Missouri or Pitt or Rutgers.

        To me, the key is to identify what Texas wants since Notre Dame is likely to scramble to be the 16th team. Thus, getting to a Big 14 with Texas is probably a better idea right now since Notre Dame seems as if it’ll stick it out alone till the Big Ten moves to a final 16 scenario. If the Big Ten is ever about to move to 16, then Notre Dame will realize that it’ll always be on its own and will start to realize that in 2-3 decades, it’s going to have way smaller revenue streams than the Big Ten schools, especially if Texas is in already…

        The wild card in all of this is what it would take to really get Texas in; if Texas says it would come with A&M/Nebraska then the Big Ten would be fine going to 14 and leaving it at that. We all just have to wait and see.


      4. M

        I disagree with the national perception aspect. Larger conferences inevitably lead to more teams with better records. National media always fails to divide when judging conference strength. Just look at the Big East in basketball. By nearly every statistical/computer conference strength ranking, the Big Ten has been a more difficult conference the past few years. However, the national perception is that the Big East is the best ever.

        On the other end of the spectrum is Big East football. The last two years, the Big East average ranking in the BCS was higher than the Big XII, but with 50% more teams the Big XII is considered on a different plane as the Big East.

        Having said that, I agree UConn is an unmitigated disaster from a football perspective. I do think Pitt would be in the Wisconsin/Iowa tier, and would definitely have beaten Michigan the past two years :P.


        1. Paul

          I’m sure Pitt would beat UM every now and then–and definitely over the last few years. I would just rather watch UM play Wiscy or Iowa. A mega conference with a heavy eastern influence will be very unpopular with fans of UM, MSU, and tOSU because old rivalries will be shoved to the side.


          1. Manifesto

            Regarding “giving up old rivalries”, OSU has two rivals. Michigan and (to a lesser extent) PSU. Those are the ones I care the most about, and I don’t see either being threatened by an eastern expansion.

            Wisconsin games have been great games in the last decade, but I’m not getting worked up if we replace them with Pitt. And, in that scenario, there’s no saying we won’t still meet Wisconsin in a conference championship game.


          2. cutter

            For Paul: As a Michigan fan/alum, I have to disagree with your contention that Wolverine fans would rather have Iowa or Wisconsin as an opponent rather than Pittsburgh.

            That’s not to undercut Wisconsin or Iowa. Over the last 30-plus years that I’ve been following Michigan football, there have been some epic games against the Badgers and the Hawkeyes. That said, there have also been stretches where those programs have been sub-par as well.

            I would suspect the same will be said about Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rutgers, Missouri, Kansas, etc., if they joined the Big Ten. These programs will certainly be better funded if they join the conference.

            But the other thing that’s relevant in modern college football is that the 85-scholarship limit has been something of a playing field leveller. If you hire the right coach who is able to build and sustain a program, then that team can be a pretty worthy opponent.

            Utah is a perfect example. They seem to have the formula down pat and they’ve done it under two excellent head coaches. TCU and Boise State also come to mind. In sum, I don’t think you can easily dismiss any of the potential Big East schools and say they can’t or won’t be on the level of a Wisconsin or Iowa in the long term. I don’t know about you, but I fully expect the opener against UConn this season to be pretty intense.

            A few more things. As its currently set up, the Big Ten rotation schedule has two teams coming on and two going off every two seasons. That means there’s not a lot of variety there with eleven schools in the conference. If the B10 adds Rutgers, Syracuse, etc., to the conference, there at least should be more diverse conference schedules through the years.

            That includes some degree of geographic variety as well. Heck, I think the last time Michigan played in the northeast was in 1999 against Syracuse and in the early 90s against Boston College.

            I’d also add that the games that peak the highest interest among Michigan fans are Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame. I would say most any other opponent is at least a step below. After all, when Minnesota rotates off the schedule, was there regret from any quarter that possession of the Little Brown Jug wasn’t being contested?

            I find your comment about a conference with a heavy eastern influence not being appealing to Michigan fans. Lots of UM alums come from the northeast and I think those people would be more than happy to see the Wolverines playing in New England, New York and New Jersey. That doesn’t include the alums who weren’t from there, but have settled in the major cities out east (NYC, Boston, Baltimore, Philly, DC).

            If there’s anything to be said that’s really positive about Notre Dame joining the Big Ten, its that they’ll no longer be Michigan’s marquee non-conference opponent.

            One of the problems I’ve had with Michigan’s overall schedule this last decade is the lack of games outside the Midwest in the non-confernce portion of the schedule–I think it was seven years ago when UM played at Oregon. With an expanded Big Ten going from Nebraska to the northeast, I hope the UM AD takes advantage of the built-in geography of the conference to schedule major out of conference opponents. Michigan, for example, has never played LSU. The only time UM’s played Texas is in the Rose Bowl a few years back. There’s lots of possibilities to make the entire schedule–conference and non-conference portions–much more interesting with an expanded conference lineup.

            The four pod system for a sixteen team conference has been discussed numerous times on this blog as a way to maintain rivalry games while ensuring that there’s enough rotatin on the schedule to ensure that the non-rival opponents on a team’s schedule are played two years out of every four. I won’t go over it again in detail, but I will say that I think its a pretty ideal setup if the B10 were to go that route.


          3. Paul

            @Cutter – I hear what you are saying about UM alums in the northeast. That is a good point. I am one of the few UM alums actually from Michigan, so my midwestern bias probably influences my lack of enthusiasm for UM to have annual meetings with half of the current Big East.

            I’m guessing that maybe a few Spartan fans agree with me about preferring the current schedule to a “Big East” schedule.

            I should not have pretended to think I know what Buckeye fans want.

            Tail is between legs.


        2. N.P.B.

          Gimme a break.

          Georgetown finished 7th in
          the Big East, and croaked Duke.

          UConn finished 11th, and beat #1 Texas.

          Iowa lost to Duquesne.
          Penn St lost to UNC-Wilmington.
          Indiana lost to Boston University and
          Loyola (Md).


          1. M

            DePaul lost to “AMER” and “FGC”. Rutgers lost to “UVM”. Providence lost to Iona.

            Rather than continuing list particular games (Georgetown losing to Ohio, Villanova losing to SMC, ND losing to ODU), look at some aggregate rankings. For example, Sagarin has the Big East a hair ahead of the Big Ten and substantially behind both the ACC and Big XII.


        3. N.P.B.


          No, it’s not the same.

          Vermont won 25 games and made the NCAA’s. Iona won 21 games. At least these teams had a pulse.

          Penn State lost to freakin 9-22 UNC-Wilmington (whose non-conf wins were Elon, VMI and Campbell).

          Iowa lost AT HOME to “Texas-San Antonio”, by 12.

          Indiana lost AT HOME to Loyola of Maryland (6-12 in the MAAC)– but thankfully for the Hoosiers, they hosted Bryant at home 6 days later.

          Big Ten basketball regularly struggles to break 49 points– and imagine once the Big Ten admits Rutgers and Nebraska for basketball too– it’ll be even worse.

          DePaul is the only bad team (that’s why they were 1-17 in conf)– and even they beat Northern Iowa.


          1. Scott S

            NPB: I don’t care much for basketball, but let’s be fair.

            You protest when “M” brings up DePaul, the bottom team in the Big East, while you use as examples isolated games of the three weakest teams in the Big Ten, (Penn State, Iowa, and Indiana).

            Neither Penn State nor Iowa played a Big East team last year, but Indiana–a 10-21 team overall, 4-14 in the Big Ten, who you deride for losing to Loyola Marymount won their only game against a Big East opponent, Pitt, which sported a 25-9 record, 13-5 in the Big East. So what does that say?

            An anomaly?

            Perhaps. But for as “bad” as you feel the Big Ten is in basketball, they had a 5-1 record agains the Big East last year.

            In addition to the Pitt loss against lowly Indiana, mighty West Virginia fell to Purdue. A very good Marquette team (22-12) lost to Wisconsin. And a pretty good (23-12) Notre Dame team lost to Northwestern.

            The Big Ten’s only loss was when a mediocre (15-17) Michigan lost to 22-12 Marquette.


        4. N.P.B.

          Not to beat a dead horse, but…

          These were M’s words:
          “National media always fails to divide when judging conference strength. Just look at the Big East in basketball. By nearly every statistical/computer conference strength ranking, the Big Ten has been a more difficult conference the past few years.”

          RPI Rankings, April 2010, from
          4 WVa
          6 Syracuse
          10 PURDUE
          14 Georgetown
          16 Villanova
          18 Pitt
          19 MICHIGAN STATE
          20 OHIO STATE
          21 WISCONSIN
          45 Louisville
          52 Notre Dame
          55 Marquette
          63 MINNESOTA
          65 Connecticut
          67 ILLINOIS
          68 Cincinnati
          70 Seton Hall
          83 South Florida
          87 St. John’s
          114 NORTHWESTERN
          134 MICHIGAN
          147 Providence
          162 Rutgers
          194 PENN STATE
          208 IOWA
          217 DePaul
          222 INDIANA

          13 of 16 Big East teams in the Top 100.
          3 of 16 Big East teams over 100.
          6 of 11 Big Ten teams in the Top 100.
          5 of 11 Big Ten teams over 100.

          M’s “nearly every statistical/computer conference strength ranking” apparently didn’t include the NCAA’s RPI rankings? He’s talking out of his butt.


          1. M

            I swear I did not intend this to turn into the usual conference pissing contest. My only point was that media tends to focus on raw statistics (e.g. eight teams in the tournament) rather than average statistics (e.g. half the teams in the tournament). A larger conference provides more places to hide bad teams and most coverage only looks at the 4-5 best teams in a given conference. In short, conference strength would be perceived better (i.e. more undefeated and single loss teams) almost regardless of what team or teams were added.

            Having said that, picking an arbitrary cutoff point to measure the overall conference strength is a bad practice. If you pick another one (say top 25), the Big Ten has 36% while the Big East has 31%. A better measure might be the median (Big Ten 67, Big East 60).

            Again, I not arguing which conference is better/worse. Rather, I am arguing that in the situation where two hypothetical conferences have 4 ranked teams out of 11 and 5 out of 16, a typical sports writer will say “The conference with 5 ranked teams is better than the conference with 4”.


          2. Scott S

            The other point you Big East fans fail to consider is that we in the Big Ten continue to hold that teams like Syracuse, Pitt and Notre Dame are completely over-rated…(until they join the Big Ten.)


          3. N.P.B.

            Thanks guys, I enjoy the back-and-forth and learn new things every time I check into this site– that’s why I keep returning even though, like you, I also think the Big Ten is overrated… just joking… lol… take care…

            …in closing, just take Rutgers (please) and Pitt (no!), and leave us Syracuse and Uconn… thanks in advance!…


      5. allthatyoucantleavebehind

        I’m with you, Paul. Give me those three teams…plus aTm and Rutgers and let’s stop at 16. As a UM fan, you still must hate to lose Wiscy and Iowa almost every year, but sprinkling in games with a Texas school or Nebraska each year would compensate I’d think.

        Again, the reports may have indicated “expand with whomever and you’ll make money”…but this isn’t just about money. Adding PSU was a trial, so you KNOW presidents will be picky. I think the conference wants a home run line-up and Pitt, Syracuse, Mizzou is not a home run lineup.


      6. PSUGuy

        Something else to consider…Nebraska hasn’t really been relevant for almost 10 years now. Sure its had some decent seasons and a few Top 25 finishes, but only a few, and the last Top 10 really was about a decade ago.

        Point being national appeal wise it is not as strong a brand as it was. Its still the premiere mid-western football brand and would add value as a western expansion, but if the Big10 added Neb/Mizzou/KS/Texas only one is going to be a big enough national brand to really be worth the westward expansion…and that school is Texas.


        1. Albino Tornado

          As bad as Nebraska’s last decade was (2000-20009), it was still 20th nationally from a wins and losses perspective. Oklahoma went through a pretty bad decade with Gibbs/Blake/Schnellenberger in the 90’s, and they came out okay. Nebraska finished 14th last year with three heartbreaking losses (8 freaking turnovers! Eight) and had Texas down to the last second. And even through the last decade, we sold out every game.


        2. c

          Re Nebraska football performance

          If Texas is out, it does not appear any of the other frequently mentioned schools is a guaranteed home run from an on the field performance football perspective.

          Over the last 8 years, Nebraska
          was ranked #14 in 2009, #24 in 2005, #18 in 2003.

          It was not in the top 25 in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008.

          Looking at Missouri, they were ranked #16 in 2008 in USA Today poll and #4 in the 2007 AP poll.

          They were not in the top 25 in 2002-2006 and 2009.

          AP and USA Today top 25 final rankings from 2002-2009 at ESPN, which only goes back to 2002.

          AP top 25
          2009 #14
          2005 #24
          2003 #19
          2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008: not in top 25

          USA Today top 25
          2009 #14
          2005 24
          2003 18
          2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008: not in top 25


          1. Drake Tungsten

            Re Nebraska football performance

            Your analysis would be more convincing if you hadn’t chosen an odd 8-year time frame that I have to suspect was chosen to leave out Nebraska’s last appearance in the BCS title game after the 2001 season.


          2. Gopher86

            Programs have ups and downs, but certain ones always stick around. Nebraska maintained the longest active sell-out streak in the country despite the Solich and Callahan eras. Their athletic department has shown that it is willing to invest in their football program and maintain a high standard for the years to come.

            The focus here is based on what an addition will bring to the table 25-50 years down the road. I can think of few properties that are as sure a thing as Nebraska. Comparing them to Missouri is asinine.


          3. c

            Re Nebraska football performance (Drake Tungsten)

            Thanks for your correction.

            The reason I only went back to 2002 is that the ESPN site that lists USA Today and AP rankings only goes back to 2002.

            My other reason for not checking another site with rankings before 2002 is primarily due to laziness.

            Please accept my apology for not including prior rankings in 2001 and earlier years. Clearly if 2002 is cited, the great years prior should have been cited as well.

            The following site is almost comprehensive:


            In the AP poll, Nebraska was ranked #8 in 2001, #8 in 2000, #3 in 1999, #19 in 1998, #2 in 1997, #6 in 1996, #1 in 1995 and so on.

            Those were happy days for Nebraska.

            Even more rankings can be found at the site above.


          4. c

            Re Nebraska and Missouri football performance (Gopher86)

            I have no doubt Nebraska is on the rebound just as Miami and FSU and ND and other teams are as well.

            My post was not meant as a criticism of Nebraska. However when I went to the ESPN site which showed rankings for 2002-2009, I was surprised that their best finish in this period was last year at #14 and for most of this period they were not ranked top 25.

            I wasn’t “comparing” Nebraska to Missouri, but since I was at the ESPN ranking site, I decided to list their rankings for these years.

            Of the other schools commonly mentioned, for the 2002-2009 period, taking the best ranking of either AP or USA Today:

            Pitt was ranked #15 in 2009, #24 in 2004, and 18 in 2002.

            Kansas was #7 in 2007.

            RU was #12 in 2006.

            ND was #17 in 2006, #9 in 2005, and #17 in 2002.


    2. Kyle

      AAU membership and CIC benefits are intangible? Clearly you are forgetting the COLLEGE part of “college athletic conferences.” The decision is not made by fans or coaches or even athletic directors. It will be voted upon by university presidents.

      And those presidents are smart enough to know that they will still sell out their stadium to see Michigan and Rutgers battle for a .500 season and pizza bowl invitation.


      1. chris7165

        I certainly wasn’t downplaying the importance and significance of the AAU and CIC afiliations. But lets be serious now,this blog is not getting thousands of hits because Michigan or Ohio State have some whiz bang science department. The interest in expansion from the average persons standpoint is football. Period. Secondly, if most of the current B10 schools sellout against MAC schools than they will probably sell out with the chum being fed us with this expansion. That doesn’t change the point that the schools being seriously talked about other than Texas, ND and to lesser extent Nebraksa, do nothing to enhance the on field performance of the B10


        1. aps

          Don’t know if you know this but Michigan & Ohio State whizzes were working together on a black hole project to suck Notre Dame into the never world.

          But unfortunately, the whizzes at Northwestern & Wisconsin beat them to it.

          Now you know why ND has been irrelevant in football for the last 10 plus years.


    3. duffman


      in order for it to work, they can’t all be winners..

      you need maybe 4 top dogs
      plus 8 competitive teams
      and maybe 4 bottom dogs

      the issue is to create competitive games in your own footprint..
      some examples might include….

      tOSU vs nsew idaho state.. bad BTN market, bad national market

      tOSU vs IU.. poor BTN market, terrible national market

      tOSU vs PSU.. excellent BTN market, good national market

      tOSU vs USC.. excellent BTN market, excellent national market

      tOSU vs Mizz.. good BTN market, fair national market

      the trick is to add second tier teams that will actually play well enough (and win on occasion) to generate fan interest. it is where the sec has succeeded, by creating secondary demand for secondary games. nobody wants to watch a blowout, but they will watch competitive games if they feel there is a chance for and upset. just my observations if others wish to comment.


  25. “It cannot be underestimated how much the academically-minded administrators at Texas loathe the thought of the SEC.”

    Penn Stater living within earshot of the cows’ stadium here.

    While it’s true that the non-sports side of UT loathes the low standards of the typical SEC school, it does not hold that their academics in the athletics program are any good – in fact, they aren’t; UT finished dead-last in one of the “re-rank the top 25 by some criteria designed to show how well the athletes are doing at being students” just this last year, with PSU being #1 (endless amusement for me at the office).

    In other words, UT the school looks down on LSU and their ilk; UT the football program is no different; they’d be a borderline-outlaw program in the Big Ten unless they raised their standards quickly.



        “Meanwhile, this year’s top football contenders wouldn’t even come close to competing. In fact, the University of Texas, which is scheduled to face the University of Alabama in the title game, again comes in dead last in the rankings. The Longhorns have occupied the bottom rung now for the past two years, and only an appearance by the University of Hawaii in 2007 has kept them from the three-peat.”


        1. Playoffs Now!

          Of course you omitted the laughable methodology of this pseudo poll:

          But when all is said and done, only 55 percent of the players on the roster will receive a diploma. The overall figure does not tell the whole story. White players graduate at a rate of 64 percent, 15 percentage points higher than their black teammates. This gap is only slightly smaller than what is seen in the overall college student population and suggests that all the highly touted support services for student-athletes are doing little to improve the academic outcomes for black players.

          The Higher Ed Watch Academic BCS formula attempts to shed light on these graduation rate disparities and the general classroom performance of these teams. A school’s score is partially determined by four federal graduation rate calculations: the football team’s graduation rate relative to the school overall; the difference in black and white graduation rates on the team; the difference in black and white graduation rates at the school overall; and the difference between the black football team graduation rate and the overall school’s black graduation rate. That final metric is a new addition this year in response to an astute commenter, who last year pointed out that teams should get credit for graduating black players at a higher rate than the school overall, even if gaps still remain on the team. (All figures and numbers in this post reflect this tweaked formula, which has also been retroactively applied to the prior two years.)

          So the more a school’s black athletes are drafted into the NFL before they finish their degree, the worse the school’s score. Rather odd, penalizing a school that is successful at getting minority athlete literally millions of dollars each. Not many students can make that money after their junior year, nor do many graduate within 4 (or even 5) years.

          In addition to the graduation rate figures, the Academic BCS formula also compares a team’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) to the average for all football teams in the same subdivision. This measure, which is calculated by the NCAA, gives schools credit for keeping team members enrolled and academically eligible to compete in each semester. We like to include the APR because it provides a more up-to-date snapshot than federal graduation rates, which are not finalized until six years after enrollment…

          …It is important to note that the Academic BCS calculation purposefully excludes the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR). This measure is supposed to be an improvement over federal graduation rates because it gives institutions credit for students that transfer elsewhere or leave school to go pro but are still academically eligible. Unfortunately, this measure exists only for student athletes and so does not allow us to make comparisons to the school overall, a crucial part of the calculation.

          And it substantially reduces the scoring disparity that makes our headlines, so we gladly dropped it!

          There’s a false perception that college athletics, particularly high-profile sports like football and basketball, opens gates for students from lower-income backgrounds. This myth is supposed to end with either a professional sports career, or at least a free college degree. But the reality is that only a very small number of college football and basketball players ever turn pro, and of the rest, nearly half leave school without a degree. That’s not an open gate; that’s a broken contract that leaves many former college athletes with nothing more than past glory that is of little use for workplace success.

          Quite nice of the authors to reveal their agenda and that they’re FOS.


  26. chris7165

    Not to belabor the point but, from this Ohio State fans perspective, no way would I give up Wisconsin for Pitt. As for Missouri, Syracuse, UConn and the rest of these bottom feeders, we only play them to fill out our home schedule. If there is a little bit of arrogance in that statement, so be it. These teams simply don’t haver the cache’ to inhance the B10 as a Texas would, not even close


    1. Manifesto


      I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that somehow Rutgers or UConn would enhance the Big Ten like Texas would. Maybe in terms of markets penetrated (which is debatable), but not on the field. The problem is, perhaps Texas doesn’t feel like enhancing the Big Ten.

      With the eastern expansion, the question isn’t “are they awesome now” it’s “can they become good or even really good”? I think Pitt could be really good — around the same level as Wisconsin. They’re decent now. Could the others? That’s another debate.

      Even if Missouri, Syracuse, and UConn are bottom feeders, OSU would just be replacing some bottom feeders with new ones. A football matchup against Syracuse is more appealing than Indiana (no offense IU fans).


      1. duffman


        that is the trick.. no more bottom feeders, but not so top heavy that they kill each other.. say nebraska, texas, nd, oklahoma, and fsu joined the big 10.. while it looks great, you now have at least half your league with a shot at the NC, but they are gonna beat up on each other each year and get knocked out. look at it differently, with said teams plus tOSU, PSU, and UM it would be almost if not totally impossible to go undefeated every year.

        8 is probably too many, and 4 may be too few.. so a good number might be 5 – 6 in a 16 team league. enough to create competitive games, but not too many to create a bloodbath. as example..

        UT 12 – 0 in 99
        FSU 11 – 0 in 00
        OU 11 – 0 in 01
        UM 11 – 0 in 02
        tOSU 13 – 0 in 03
        LSU 12 – 1 in 04
        USC 12 – 0 in 05
        Texas 12 – 0 in 06
        UF 11 – 1 in 07
        LSU 11 – 2 in 08
        UF 12 – 1 in 09
        Bama 13 – 0 in 10

        LSU is the only 2 loss team (and won the bowl to redeem any doubts) the rest have 0 or 1 loss, so you have to make conferences competitive but keep good odds that a team can go into the NC game with only 1 loss (including their conference championship to make the best argument to play for the NC.


        1. chris 7165

          When did the number 16 become chiseled in stone. I always thought that was a ridiculously high number. I have to admit, being an OSU fan, I didn’t get thrilled to play Minnesota or Purdue but at least we had a history. If you have almost a fifty percent increase in teams, not only will you lose connection with the non rivalry Big 10 teams but you simply will not play the new teams often enough to build any kind of chemistry and thus lose some passion for the B10 conference along the way.


          1. duffman


            it is the math of 2..

            2X2 = 4
            2X4 = 8
            2X8 = 16
            2X16 = 32

            next in line are the 1/2’s

            4 [6] 8 [12] 16 [24] 32

            so the next jump from 12 would be 16, as other combinations make end of the season playoffs easier. Think of your NCAA brackets. 12 means the top 4 get byes, and 16 means everybody starts off equal. 11 (current Big 10) and 13 are prime numbers, which means ugly bracketing.

            In a 16 team format, you could have (2) 8 team divisions.. so your schedule could be 7 division games + 2 rotating from other division + 3 OOC (in a 12 game season). In 4 team “pods” you could move things around a bit, but it still creates “round” vs “irregular” that a 13, 14, or 15 team might force.

            just my observation.. anybody else offer a different perspective?


        2. M

          If you are looking at from the perspective of getting teams into the NCG you are probably right. However, from the perspective of maximum interest/tv rankings, the more high profile schools the better.

          The other thing to keep in mind is that all of these schools will not be playing each other every year. I would be willing to bet it would be impossible to win a division with more than 1 loss, ensuring the eventual champion only has one loss.


  27. Bob
    1. Richard

      Interesting. So no ND. 1-3 schools most likely.

      I’m going to say it’s 3, then. Nebraska, Mizzou, and likely Rutgers (though the Big10 presidents like Pitt). Thee talk with Texas and TAMU to see if they’d be willing at that point to be 15 & 16. If not, add Pitt & Syracuse.


      1. Rich2

        Beering was a good president for Purdue — but no where near as good as his successor. It has been a while since he was in the mix, who knows what type of ties he has today. Still, I hope his analysis proves accurate — no ND, 1-3 other schools added.


  28. Richard

    You know, I’m coming around to duffman’s view when it comes to SEC expansion (about the SEC wanting pairs of schools); though now I don’t think the ACC will be completely destroyed.

    So first step, the Big10 takes Nebraska, Mizzou, Pitt, Rutgers, and Syracuse.

    The SEC desires Texas, Carolina, and would want Oklahoma as well, but UT and UNC want nothing to do with the SEC (and UNC simply won’t break it’s numerous rivalries like Duke, NCSU, WFU, and Virginia, and can’t take them all along). Thinking long and hard, OU eventually decides to cast it’s fate with Texas, because it sees what happened to Arkansas (who were a national title contender when they regularly played Texas schools and are now firmly in the middle class in the SEC, even though they’re getting more money). If anything, OU is even more dependent on Texas recruiting than Arkansas, getting the bulk of their recruits from that state. If they join the SEC and Texas doesn’t, that pipeline dries up and they won’t contend for national titles again. UT can also use it’s allies in the legislature to keep TAMU (and TTech) in line. However, being tied to the hip with Texas isn’t all bad, as Texas pulls the rest of the Big12 over to form a 20-team Western Alliance with the Pac10 (they could just choose 6, but assuming they pull TTech and TAMU along as well as OU and OSU, that would neccesitate cutting out Kansas and Baylor, and I think UT would like to keep around Kansas basketball and an extra game in Texas. With unequal revenue sharing, it doesn’t have to be much of a burden either.

    On the ACC front, the SEC starts its own network and wants to add a bunch of ACC schools but eventually end up with only Clemson, GTech, and FSU. GTech may be ambivalent about joining, and FSU as well, but I think the state legislatures will help them make that decision (plus the money doesn’t hurt). The SEC tries to get Miami as well, but sharing nothing in common with SEC schools, and still wanting to associate themselves academically with Duke & UNC as well as play games in the northeast, Miami stays in the ACC despite the obvious financial benefits of joining the SEC . . . which means WVU lucks out, as the SEC adds them as the 16th school. The SEC doesn’t expand its footprint much, but it does add some brand names and 100% ownership of some fierce rivalries. Despite having a smaller footprint than the BTN and Western Alliance Network, the SEC Network is still plenty profitable as games like LSU-FSU, ‘Bama-Clemson, and Florida-GTech draw sky-high ratings across the south.

    To regroup, the ACC adds UConn (and still stays a premier basketball conference). There’s fierce debate about going back to 12, and ultimately they don’t, at least for a few years, until talks get underway between the Big 3 conferences about seceding from the NCAA. ND sees the writing on the wall, and in a marrige of desperation (neither ND or the ACC wants to be left out), they join up. Either 1 school will be lucky, or 5 (if the other conferences demand that the ACC expands to 16 to join the club). If just 1, either USF or UCF get to be lucky 12. If the ACC goes to 16, then both USF and UCF and well as Cincy, Louisville, and Memphis get to join ND in the super-ACC.

    BYU, BSU, TCU, and Utah will start to regularly win NCAA DivI-A championships (which by then will be in a 16-team playoff format), but most attention is paid to the plus-one championship played by the winner of the Rose Bowl and the SEC-ACC matchup (rotating between the Sugar & Orange), while the Sugar/Orange, Cotton, and Fiesta either host the championship game or pick from the runners-up of the 4 megaconferences.

    Oh, and since the DivI-A teams can play up to 16 games now (12 game regular season, 4 in the playoffs), the megaconferences use that as justification to bump the regular season up to 13 or 14 games (since they have only a 2-game playoff). The benefit of this is that this allows the 16-team conferences to play 11 conference games (7 in their division + half of the other division, so traditional rivalries won’t get disrupted) or even 12 if they want to. Ratings become boffo, there are more intense rivalries, the money flows in even more, fans are happy, and everyone wins (except the small schools) . . . . and the student-athletes, who get their bodies beat up even more for the same amount of education . . . . but when did anyone ever care about those guys, anyway.


    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      Richard – Don’t assume Texas wouldn’t take a hard look at the SEC. Overall, the SEC is a better academic conference than the Big XII. Vandy & Georgia are ranked higher than Texas and Florida is tied with the Longhorns according to USN&WR. Only Ole Miss and Mississippi State aren’t in the Top Tier. Sure, the SEC isn’t the Big Ten or Pac 10, but its certainly respectable from an academic standpoint.

      While the SEC TV package is very competitive with the Big Ten TV package, the SEC package allows for something I don’t think the Big Ten would tolerate. Under the SEC package, the Longhorns could still create their own Longhorn TV network. After CBS, the ESPN family of networks, and SEC-TV pick through the conference inventory, the schools can cut their own deal for the scraps. That might allow Texas to make more money in the SEC than in the Big Ten.

      Now the SEC doesn’t have anything like the CiC, but if Texas wants to move out of the Big XII, make money, play most of its games in the Central Time zone, and not play in snow, then it will have to take a hard look at what the SEC has to offer.


      1. Alan,

        When you’re comparing academics, I think it’s better to look less at the flawed US News ranks and more at the research end. That’s where the money is, and the Pac 10 and Big 10 are far ahead of the SEC. Texas would want to improve its academic position as well as its athletics position, and a move from the Big XII to the SEC is no better than a lateral move. A move to the Big 10 or Pac 10 most definitely is not.

        And as for snow, I think the Nebraska fans on here who seem to complain about All Things Texas will fondly remember, as I do, what happened the last time the Horns played in the snow. It doesn’t phase us 🙂


        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Hopkins – I never said that the SEC was or is an academic equal to the Big Ten or Pac 10, but it is academically better than the Big XII, the conference in which Texas is currently a member. If Texas wants to improve its academic standing by joining an athletic conference, they should look at the Pac 10 or Big Ten. If Texas wants to play in the conference that has won half of the BCS championships and have the ability to start their own Longhorn TV network, they should look at the SEC. Either way, the SEC will be fine.


          1. Richard

            Not really. The Big12 has 7 AAU schools. The SEC has 2. Even if the Big10 pulls away 2-3 of the AAU schools, the Big12 would still have more. In terms of ARWU rankings and research money as well (which would correspond better with how admin and academic types would rank academic prestige), the Big12 schools are significantly above the SEC schools on average.


          2. duffman


            As stated in the a previous blog as it took till this year for ga tech to get in there may be bias to schools already in, so I am willing to accept some bias in the AAU.

            Disclaimer: I love the CIC concept

            QUOTE FROM CIC..

            “The day has long since passed when a college or university can consider itself a
            fort of knowledge in a hostile frontierland of ignorance, jealously guarding unto
            itself its hoard of facts and ideas. Academic isolation has long been impractical;
            in today’s world, it is impossible. At a time when yesterday’s bright new fact
            becomes today’s doubt and tomorrow’s myth, no single institution has the
            resources in faculty or facilities to go it alone. A university must do more than
            just stand guard over the nation’s heritage, it must illuminate the present and
            help shape the future. This demands cooperation – not a diversity of
            weaknesses, but a union of strengths.”

            It is something the Big 10 should be proud of but I find 2 points to note:

            a) the CIC has not gone nationwide

            b) it can be replicated by ANY conference

            Maybe a) is limited because as it gets bigger it gets harder to insure quality. A theory I have on the value of mass. Say Frank starts a sausage and beer place in Chicago. Everybody loves Frank, and being in the joint all the time there is lively discussion that adds atmosphere to the joint and pretty soon everybody wants to hang out at Frank’s.

            Then one day Frank says too many folks so he opens a new place cross town. And because Frank pops in, it does well. Pretty soon he has a small chain across Illinois that caters to sports in the area and it goes pretty good. So one day Frank says “I am gonna franchise the concept” and before you know it Frank is nationwide and Frank has made so much dough he retires someplace warm in the winter.

            The corporate guys come in and say “Franks food and beverage costs are too high” so they substitute cheaper ingredients to fatten the margins. People start to notice, and since Frank is gone, they lose the warm fuzzy feeling of good sports conversation to go with the food. the numbers slip, and management says we will change the menu to sushi and vodka (because trend analysis says that is where the money is) and change the sports conversation to discussions on reality tv shows…..

            Than some guy named Fred opens a little sausage and beer joint in downtown Chicago that encourages sports talk….

            You get the picture..

            Maybe the CIC has a critical mass that fits just staying in the Big 10. Maybe not, but who knows. The point is for whatever reason it has not, nor has it been replicated. which leads me to point b)

            Maybe texas goes to the Pac 16, because they would be on the ground floor of setting up a similar research group in that conference. Maybe they go to the SEC and part of their demand is that they set up a CIC type thing for the SEC. Now since they brought this entity to the SEC Texas can be the sun or jupiter in such an arrangement while they would have to take a backseat in the Pac 16 and would only be an equal in the Big 16.

            The point is nothing is etched in stone until it actually happens. Once you go big, there is no way to put the genie back in the bottle. One thing I can say from a life of experience tho is that once you think you are above everybody else, you are already on the first rung down the ladder.

            As a fan of the Big 10, it is troubling when I see much posturing about how great it is and everybody should be knocking down the door to get in. The truly great (over the long term) usually do it by staying humble and attracting others by how you handle your business. So there may be a time to be quiet and “listen” to what Texas, ND, NU, and others have to say. Just my observation.

            I think of Robert Duvall’s line in Colors..

            [There’s two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: “Hey pop, let’s say we run down there and f$%k one of them cows”. The older one says: “No son. Lets walk down and f$%k ’em all”.]

            sometimes walking beats running.



          3. prophetstruth

            What are you basing your premise that the SEC is academically superior to the Big12 aside from the rankings of Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt?


      2. Richard

        It’s almost invariably non-UT folks (mostly people from SEC country, though some Aggies, etc.) who think there’s a chance of Texas joining the SEC. Go to a UT message board, and you’ll find that joining the Pac10, joining the Big10, staying in a depleted Big12/reforming an expanded SWC, and going independent are more favored by the fanbase. Is that what the powers-that-be think? Maybe they think differently, but I doubt it. Even without the academics reasoning, there are some purely football/pride reasons for not joining the SEC. As I’d pointed out before, UT likes to be the center of their conference. They have a chance to pull that off if they orchestrate a merger with the Pac10 (at least the center of their division; in the SEC, they’d have to share with LSU and maybe ‘Bama, not to mention the center-of-gravity in the SEC will never be close to Texas while they have a chance of pulling a Western Alliance HQ to Texas some day), and in any case, would be at worst co-top-dog with USC in a Western Alliance (instead of competing with 4-5 schools that are their equal in brand and tradition in the SEC). Secondly, Texas has little desire to open up Texas recruiting to the rest of the SEC. Joining the Pac10 (or the Big10) in this regard isn’t as bad, since Texas should still be able to get the best recruits in their state as the new schools are all far way. LSU is right next door, however, and I doubt Texas is too keen to see top talent start flowing again to Arkansas. Maybe I’m wrong, but until I see more support from Texas people for a move to the SEC, I’ve got to write a Texas-to-SEC move as dreams by people in SEC country.


        1. duffman


          I agree with several of your points (a comment somewhere in the back of my mind from mack brown about recruiting texas enters my thoughts). My big question is who Texas wants to bring along and how they fit. As a move by Texas will not mean Texas is the lone wolf..

          I will rephrase an earlier comment but approach it from the downsides….

          a) Big 10 sweep – T,A&M,NU,MU, and KU

          how it blows up: with 2 former SWC and 3 former Big 8 schools in the mix Texas has 2 votes out of 16.. not a good feeling for Texas, Texas counters with Texas, A&M, TT, OU, and OSU. Big 10 says no because of academics and Texas does not join.

          b) pac 16 sweep – T,A&M,NU,MU,KU, and CU

          how it blows up: Texas is happy with a 6/10 vote block, and a conference where unequal revenue are OK. Pac 16 shoots self in foot in not voting in 4 of the 6, and everything falls apart as texas viewed it as an all or nothing deal.

          c) sec 16 sweep – T,A&M,OU,OSU, and TT

          how it blows up: Vandy announces it is pulling a U of Chicago and drops football (keeping MBB and WBB) so it can form a CIC for the SEC. The 5 Big 12 move to the SEC West. Alabama and Auburn refuse to move to the East and Kentucky says it will not Move to the West (especially as Vandy is out of the football business). The good folks in Bama still not happy about the last great war enlists their reenactors and announces annexation of mississippi and declares war on Texas!

          Okay the last sentence was a bit involved, but it COULD happen..



          1. prophetstruth


            I think that you tend to undervalue the importance of academics where Texas is concerned and to a lesser extent the Big10. In addition I think that you overvalue the need for Texas to bring OU, OSU and TT along with them. I don’t see how the three aforementioned schools exclusion make TX to the Big10 a deal breaker. Why do you insist that TX must be included with those schools or that TX is set to do everything in tandem with OU? I don’t see Texas with desires to improve their academic standing giving the SEC the time of day simply to bring OU and especially OSU and TT along. Why would they do that? I don’t get your rationale.


          2. @Prophetstruth:

            Thank you. To my frustration at commenters insisting that the SEC would be a real option for Texas, I would like to add, as you’ve pointed out, frustration that Texas would somehow link its fate with the University of Oklahoma. Texas having to link its fate with A&M and possibly Texas Tech, for Texas state political reasons, makes sense, but there’s not one bit of logic behind the notion that Texas will insist that OU be allowed to tag along for the ride.


          3. Richard


            UT leads OU, not the other way around. In the end, OU needs Texas recruits and money far more than UT needs anything from Oklahoma. If UT decides to join with the Pac10, everybody they want will follow along. As for the Pac10 rejecting OU, etc. I don’t think people here grasp just how desperate the Pac10 schools are for money these days. Sure, Stanford rejected Texas back in the day, but if you haven’t noticed yet, finances in the golden state (both public and private) are in a terrible state, and with no CIC, Stanford, etc. have no reason to reject OU, TTech, and the like except for ego, and these days, money matters far more than ego. People talk about Stanford’s vast endowment, but that endowment’s taken a hit as well, and Stanford’s had to lay off athletic staff and cut sports. If given the choice of taking in OU & TTech or cutting more people and sports, it’d be ludicrous think that Stanford would choose the latter, especially since they’ll virtually never play the old Big12 teams in a 16 or 20 team conference. Duffman, you do a good job of ascribing rational behavior to the SEC, but won’t do the same for the Pac10; don’t know why.


          4. greg

            Everyone seems to expect Arizona and ASU to be on board with a Pac16 that has them playing most of their road games in the great plains. I don’t know if that can be expected. The conventional wisdom here seems to be that Stanford is running the show, but any single school can use their veto power to stop expansion.

            Similarly, I don’t see a B10 solely “eastern expansion” being approved, as the Western schools could very well vote together to block it. Why should the Western schools give up their games against UM, PSU and OSU only to see newcomers like Rutgers get those choice games every year? Only if a power team or two was added to the West would the expansion be approved.


          5. duffman


            no.. if you read earlier posts.. I just tend to factor in money ahead of research. human nature to act in ones own self interest. I am a firm believer in education, but in the end I will not have the voice.

            hh & richard..

            my original observation was a 6 team swing to the Pac 10.. which was quickly shot down by allyoucanleavebehind and others as the Pac 10 was a “no blackball” conference – as such 1 vote would eliminate a prospective new member. Thinking from a straight math point of view I began to think this would produce quite long odds of successful outcome.

            as greg pointed out two blackballs could easily come from the Arizona schools. On paper a “block” move by 6 to the Pac 10 is actually the most coherent plan. translating paper to a living breathing operation is not the same. I do not get to make the rules, I / we are just observers (unless Frank is really Delaney, and I get Big 10 basketball tickets for life) on this blog.

            What I am trying to factor in is the value of pairs x 3 as richard commented he was beginning to see..

            I will try to say this in a better way but I was never an effective “written” communicator as my mind works at one speed, my eyes another, and my fingers are several gears behind. Here goes..

            Put yourself in Texas shoes..

            BIG .. ego, money, worth of knowledge..

            see also the the rich kid in school.. with operant word being “kid”

            now you are the BMOC at good old Big 12 HS, but your parents want to move to a new neighborhood..

            there is Big 10 HS, but they might knock you down on the “worth of knowledge”

            there is SEC HS, but they might knock you down in the locker room

            there is Pac 10 HS, but they might blackball you from joining the clubs

            No matter which HS you pick, you go in alone with no buddies, you are a kid, and you are all alone.. so you change the playing field in your favor..

            The more “friends” you bring, the more you can get from whatever HS you wind up attending. I am not saying that Texas would “need” the other 5 from a size / power standpoint. I am saying that texas might “need” them from a comfort standpoint as all 6 share the west / southwest – than neither the Big 10, pac 10, or sec share..

            is this any clearer? or have I hade it more confusing?


          6. prophetstruth

            no.. if you read earlier posts.. I just tend to factor in money ahead of research. human nature to act in ones own self interest. I am a firm believer in education, but in the end I will not have the voice.


            I did read all of your responses and comments thus the reason why I asked the question. Your reply did not really answer the questions I posed or substantiate your rationale regarding Texas.

            Factoring in money and doing what’s in one’s own self interest would mean Texas to the Big10 (more money and better academics). I fail to see how Texas to the SEC is basing your argument on money and doing what’s in one’s self interest. If talking research, it’s Big10 or Pac10. Talking academics, it’s Big10 or Pac10. Talking money it’s Big10. Only when talking close geography and football will the SEC win out. Your argument still doesn’t make a lot of sense based upon your given rationale.


          7. duffman


            was confused at first because I thought you were implying I was putting Texas in the SEC, which I have stated early on not to be the case. Back many blogs ago my pick was Texas to the Pac 16! This is still my position…. because money and self interest still puts Texas in the Pac 16..

            My SEC 16 involves an ACC raid, and has pretty much from day 1, how else would I get Maryland for the Big 16?

            I still see USC and Texas as the sun and jupiter in a PAC 16 universe, this would allow Texas power and an uneven revenue stream they could not attain in the Big 10. They still get the research glow of the Pac 16 while being the Big Dog in the yard. I have constantly viewed the Big 10 and the SEC as collectives with “share and share alike”.

            In a BIG 2 Pac 16 where USC and UT are the two, could be a better deal than being in the Big 16 and splitting the pot 16 ways. The base of the argument several blogs ago was that Texas has an ego, and given this fact their home would be the Pac 16 NOT the Big 16….

            I am still not sure why you can not understand this rationale?

            plus throw in some intangibles like..

            better weather
            baseball vs hockey
            women’s basketball
            they could bring the most B12 teams
            fewer strong teams in NC run
            recruiting california


      3. zeek

        I tend to agree with Hopkins Horn on this. The best measures are 1) whether the school is an AAU member, and 2) research funding $.

        The conferences and Texas will not be lifting their noses at certain schools based on subjective rankings. They all know that it’s not really fair to compare schools in less “favorable” locations or public flagship universities in smaller states when it comes to US News rankings.

        For example people keep saying Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas are less desirable because they’re not in the Top 70 like all the Big Ten schools, but that’s almost wholly irrelevant. The Midwest public universities have historically had a much easier time attracting students and professors from all over the country to boost their stats.

        Now as for the SEC, it only has 2 AAU members: Vanderbilt and Florida. Those two are probably the most prominent research institutions in the SEC.

        As an example, Alabama is in the top 100 schools but it’s athletic department pulls in twice as much $ as its research departments.

        Vanderbilt and Florida are the only academic peers to Texas in a research sense, which is what Texas cares about and is looking for…


        1. zeek

          I just want to add, there’s going to be a faculty vote (not that it’s binding or anything) on whether to join a certain conference.

          That faculty vote will be taken for consideration by the board of the universities when they’re making their decisions on the matter.

          I can easily see a Texas faculty vote being strongly against joining the SEC. Yes, we all think in $ and which conference has the most “football prestige” at the moment, but you can bet your bottom dollar that all else equal, academics will play a big role in where a school like Texas lands. Probably not as important as athletics per se, but it may well be the deciding factor between the Pac-10/Big Ten or SEC.


        2. Rich2

          Zeek, best measure of what? Of how academically fit is a research-oriented university that emphasizes graduate education over undergraduate education? Your metrics simply re-state your premise in a different way. And this statement is, in fact “irrelevant” in terms of how USN&WR or BusinessWeek conduct their overall assessments.

          “For example people keep saying Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas are less desirable because they’re not in the Top 70 like all the Big Ten schools, but that’s almost wholly irrelevant. The Midwest public universities have historically had a much easier time attracting students and professors from all over the country to boost their stats.”

          They are less desirable destinations at the undergraduate level for large number of students with high SAT scores — and I might add that information is not perceptual.


          1. zeek

            Well, the reason I used those metrics is that those are the most useful metrics for measuring the possible research synergy that a university would get from associating with another university.

            The US News rankings are useful in terms of measuring the quality of the student bodies as well as the relative impact of endowments and the sizes of faculties relative to students, etc.

            Those are all more of what students look at when they’re measuring institutions. For academics, the value of other institutions tends to be in the level of research that they do.

            Being in the AAU and the amount of $ spent on research are what matter to the people making these decisions.

            Sure they might dismiss at Tier 3 or unranked university off hand, but other than that the US News rankings are far less useful here than other measures.


          2. mushroomgod

            zeek, you have a point, but….

            perception is reality on a lot of this stuff, and the US News rankings carry a lot of weight. When John Q. Citizen wants to know how good a school the first thing he looks at are the US News ratings.

            Look at KU v.Syracuse. Yes, KU has $70-75M in annual fed research $ to $25M for Syracuse. That’s very important. But equally important are the US News ratings. As I recall Syracuse is #56 there, KU #96.

            Also, consider U Conn’s situation. It’s not an AAU member although it has 2 or 3 times the research $ as Syracuse. That makes no sense, but it in all liklihood it will eliminate U Conn from consideration.

            I think the Big 10 will consider long and hard before it adds more than 1 school from the west. Each school from the Neb/Mo/KU trio that is added is one more school at the bottom of the academic ratings of Big 10 schools.


          3. @mushroomgod – I do agree that a lot the academically-focused arguments are passing off the US News rankings way too easily – for better or for worse, those rankings mean a lot in terms of public perception and the fact of the matter is that a large portion of those rankings are based upon what the university presidents think themselves. I believe that the academic reputation score, which is the most heavily weighted factor in the US News rankings, is very relevant to our discussion because it measures what the university presidents actually think of each other. This actually puts a comparative number with respect to Zeke’s point that the qualitative perceptions of academic quality will likely override the quantitative numbers of academic research dollars.


          4. zeek


            I don’t want to get into the weeds here, but once you admit one of NU/KU/MU or any school outside of a US News “Top 70 meme,” you’ve blown up that paradigm and would not hold the US News rankings against the others.

            It’s a lot easier to explain away Notre Dame not being in the AAU by saying that “11 out of 12 Big Ten members are AAU and the 12th is Notre Dame which is a good school in and of itself” versus saying “13 out of 14 schools are Top 70 and the 14th is ranked 95” or whatever.

            The US News rankings are a snapshot of the here and now. Schools will move up and down over many years.

            AAU membership is not a snapshot; it is a long term indication of the research prowess of a university. That’s why AAU membership is what would be touted in any kind of “this conference does more research than the others” kind of argument.

            The US News argument for why only 1 or 2 of NU/MU/KU would be added is nearly worthless because once you lose the “all schools are US News Top 70” notion, then you might as well damn the torpedoes because you’re not going to invent some kind of other meme around the US News.

            The Big Ten is building the conference of the next 50 years. In 2030, I would go as far to posit that the US News ranking of an institution outside of the top 20 in 2010 is a useless indicator. The top 20 are much more stable; no one really expects the top private schools to lose their massive endowments and ability to massively outdo public universities in terms of faculty spending, etc.

            However, there will be lots of movement over the next 20 years among the schools ranked 30 to 100 in the US News.

            But AAU membership of the schools will not change. That’s why it’s the indicator that would be used, and it’s why all 3 of NU/MU/KU could easily be added to an expanded Big Ten.


          5. ezdozen

            What makes anyone think that University Presidents are going to rely on the US News at all? I tend to think that they deem themselves qualified (whether they are or not) to make the subjective quality determination just fine.

            I also think that they will be clouded somewhat by history, for better or worse. A University with a general perception of academic prowess over the years will probably trump some decision coming down to School A is 56 and School B is 59.

            This is not the RPI, BCS, etc. They are not looking for reasons to exclude schools. They are looking for the best fits.

            Similarly, I am not sure research dollars is going to work that way either… with a school with $200M necessarily being deemed better than one with $125M.

            I just don’t see this coming down to objective criteria. If the candidate schools are pre-qualified to NOT cause the Big 10 to lose money via expansion, I fully expect the decision to then be resolved via objective criteria.

            This could benefit or hurt any of the candidate schools.


          6. mushroomgod

            zeek and ex–

            The US News ratings are going to continue to be relevant whether we add 1 or 3 schools in the west. If you look at university propaganda, as I’ve done a lot lately (my son is a high school jr), schools WILL mention the US news ratings and AAU membership in their publications. They also go into considerable detail concerning research, including #s. If these matters are deemed important to prodpective students, why would they not be important for prospective schools?

            Even IF U presidents themselves dispute the validity of the US News ratings, they know they are important to public perception. In these areas, perception is at least as important as reality.

            Therefore,adding Nebraska (for example) is academically detrimental. I don’t think there’s any way around that. And adding Missouri and KU on top of Nebraska probably ends any argument with the ACC as to which conference is #1 in academics.


          7. zeek

            Except that it’s not academically dilutive once you’ve already added one.

            Once you add one, you’ve already blown up the “Top 70 meme” as I discussed above.

            Thus, if we’re going to add any of Nebraska, Kansas or Missouri; then it doesn’t matter whether we add 1 or 2 or 3.

            And again, the US News rankings are nowhere near as stable as you think they are. Look at the rankings just 15 years ago and compare them to 2010’s rankings. Outside of the top like 20 or 30, the rest of the schools from 30 to 100 will move around a lot over time.

            AAU membership is a constant.

            And the ACC only has 4 AAU schools.

            The ACC is probably already superior to the Big Ten according to the US News.

            Honestly, the US News is an indicator of academic strength, but it is probably weaker than whether the institution is part of the AAU or has strong graduate research.

            I’m not trying to belittle the importance, but I could easily see the Big Ten taking all three of Nebraska/Kansas/Missouri without considering their US News impact on the Big Ten at all since they are all AAU members.


          8. mushroomgod

            I agree that you’ve blown the “top 70” argumentby the Big 10 by adding Neb.; that doesn’t mean that adding other below average schools has no effect. In the future, people that were rating conferences on academic criteria would note that the Big 10 had 3 schools that were in the 90-100 range, not 1.


          9. Drake Tungsten

            I really don’t understand why some people think the US News rankings are important to this discussion. Everything I’ve ever read on the subject has led me to believe that university presidents hate the US News rankings and think they’re inherently flawed. AAU membership and R&D expenditures are metrics that seem far more likely to measure the academic qualities that Big Ten university presidents actually care about.


          10. duffman

            I go back to my argument on the AAU bias, as Ga Tech JUST got in, even tho they have been a top school for ages..!!

            I made a comparison many blogs ago about the difference in rank in bridge vs chess..

            Bridge is cumulative, so rank is based on accumulation not skill. It explains why you get many “bluehairs” who play terrible bridge.

            Chess is ability, so rank is adjusted by play. The higher you go the better you should be. if you start sucking wind, your rank falls.

            Now go back and look at the AAU, and inherent bias. If you got in in the first 20 years you are set going forward, and you accrue benefits.

            My question is this.. If “early bird” schools were up today would they still get in? There is no benefit to remove members, so it does not really happen (only 2 schools went out). Look at the Big 10 in the first 20 years..

            1900 – Michigan, Wisconsin, Chicago
            1908 – Minnesota, Illinois
            1909 – Iowa, Indiana
            1916 – Ohio State
            1917 – Northwestern

            9 of 10 early birds
            PU => 58 + MSU => 68

            The Big 8 now Big 12

            1908 – Missouri
            1909 – Kansas, Nebraska

            3 of 8 early birds
            ISU => 58 + CU => 66

            The SEC

            0 of 12 early birds
            Vandy 1950 / Florida 1985

            The SWC now Big 12

            0 0f 12 early birds
            Texas 1929 / A & M 2001

            i personally am happy as hell that IU is in, but is there an element of being in the right place at the right time early on help?

            Maybe I am alone here, but MIT => 1934 + Cal Tech => 1934 Ga Tech in 2010!?!?

            if somebody can explain this, have at it!


          11. Richard

            GTech certainly got it’s share of bright students (being the premier engineering school in the south), but before WWII, I think the southern schools simply didn’t have the financial resources to hire faculty talent and build labs that the northern and western schools did. Even now, ARWU (which is an objective ranking based mostly on research published) ranks GTech behind every Big10 school other than Iowa in the 56-70 range (and far behind MIT and Caltech at 4 & 5 respectively).


          12. grantlandR

            I don’t think we can dismiss Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas on the basis of how we think the US News rankings should be interpreted. Sure, these schools rank about 25 to 30 positions below the lowest ranked Big Ten schools, but that only a difference of 5 or 6 points. Looking at US News’ methodology, I don’t know if we can easily determine the significance of in this difference in score. For example, even though Ohio State (Go Bucks!) is ranked closer to Illinois/Wisconsin, there is a bigger gap in the score between Ohio State and Illinois/Wisconsin than there is between Nebraska/Missouri/Kansas and Indiana/Michigan State/Purdue. By the way, Nebraska and Missouri have better SATs than Indiana, Michigan State or Purdue (Kansas uses ACTs).

            Proud as I am to see the relatively high ranking of the Big Ten, the point is that all the Tier 1 schools would provide a good education to the great majority of students.

            I think membership in the AAU and a strong showing in R&D are what will matter to the university presidents in the end, with preference to state flagship schools.


  29. zeek

    Has anyone considered that Texas may be the school that takes Kansas and Missouri off the table?

    Remember how Texas shot down the Big 16 possibility and chose the Big 12 since it did not want the pie split 4 more ways?

    Well, in the Big 12, the only schools that Texas treats as being in the same stratosphere in terms of earnings are A&M/OU/Nebraska. Texas along with those 3 other schools maintain the unequal revenue sharing by using their combined 4 votes to veto decisions.

    What if Texas would only want to join with A&M and Nebraska since it considers them to not be dilutive in terms of splitting the pie.

    We all know that Texas will act in its own interest. Thus, Texas must be looking at Pac-10 and Big Ten scenarios that maximize its earnings.

    Hence, Texas would not want the Pac-10 to expand beyond 12 (Texas and A&M) if it means smaller portions.

    It would by the same token not want the Big Ten to go past 14 (Texas, A&M, and Nebraska) unless Notre Dame was involved in a blockbuster move to 16. The move to 16 could happen years down the road when Notre Dame is forced into it by the massive gap in TV revenue that will only grow larger.

    Texas is the one in the driver seat if it knows the Big 12 is going to implode. Thus, it might be worth considering that the Pac-10 and Big Ten would only move to 12 or 14 respectively if Texas determines that it doesn’t want the pie to be diluted by other entrants.

    This is just a random thought I had since everyone is so focused on where Texas ends up…


    1. zeek

      It is also worth noting that all of this gives Texas the incentive to act or early enough that it can change the decision making process.

      Once the Pac-10 sends an invite to Colorado or the Big Ten sends an invite to Missouri or Rutgers or Pitt or Syracuse, then Texas loses its optimal Pac-12 or Big Ten (14) scenarios…

      The easiest way for the Big Ten to play this would then be to just invite Nebraska and allow the Pac-10 to possibly take itself out of contention by adding Colorado and Utah.

      Just some more food for thought.


    2. Michael

      @Zeek, you´re comparing appples and oranges. The Big 12 expansion to 16 increased the number of slices without increasing the size of the pie. With the Big 10 Network, it´s a different beast. We are assuming all of these candidates add enough value to make them worthwhile.

      Also, the holdup in any Texas move would be political – not the financial side. If it were purely about revenue, there would be no discussion. No, the problem is political and joining a division with four other Big 12 teams should help that cause.


      1. zeek

        My point still applies though because we’re discussing a possible Pac-10 move. And, I’m still not sold on the analysis that all of these candidates would increase TV revenue enough to justify their additions.

        The only ones that we know for sure are home runs are Texas and Notre Dame. Nebraska probably comes as close as you can to being a sure money maker out of the remaining schools due to the strength of its national TV audiences.

        As for the rest, I think there are still enough legitimate concerns, that Texas may not want larger expansion to a 16 team conference.

        In any case, my point still applies for the Pac-10, and thus, in a roundabout way to the Big Ten even if you assume every school increases TV revenue enough.

        For the Pac-10, wouldn’t Texas just want it to go to 12 with Texas and A&M? Adding Colorado and Utah just adds two more slices. Yes I know that the Pac-10 has uneven revenue sharing, but even then enough of the money is split that Texas’ share would probably go down.

        Thus, once the Pac-10 invites Colorado, I would have to assume that Texas is much more receptive to a Big Ten invite, etc.


        1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

          Zeek, you seem to be implying that the PAC10 is somewhat in control of what happens for Texas. The only “power” they have right now is to either fashion some sort of a merger with the Big 12 for a TV network OR add Texas/aTm. That’s it. Of course, if they can pull something like that off in the next 2 months, they’ll have plenty of control. But those are longshots, in my book.

          They can decide to go the easy route and pick up CU and Utah, but that won’t do anything significant for Texas’s decision making process. Yes, it could provide some “cover” for them politically, but again, if Texas says no to the PAC10 in every shape and form over the next two months, I believe that they’ve already made up their mind–stay in the Big 12 and survive the hits from the Big 10 OR join the Big 10. The PAC10’s actions won’t effect their future in any other way.


    3. allthatyoucantleavebehind

      I might have to agree with you about it being Texas or Mizzou but not both.

      I don’t see the Big 10 wanting four teams from the Big 12. Too much personality dillution for the conference. But 3 of 16, it could handle that.

      I think Nebraska is going to be the first announced addition for the Big 10. Like you said, they hold enough value for football and fit “well enough” in the academic arenas. Even if the PAC10 doesn’t touch Colorado, Nebraska would throw off the power equllibrium enough in the Big 12 to give Texas/aTm the permission to politically/socially look at other options.

      I see the “announcements” to come one at a time over the next 13 months.

      Nebraska and Rutgers first. East-west balance for Big 12. Destabilizes two weakest conferences (affiliated with crown jewels, by the way–Texas and ND for bball)
      Then, Texas and aTm. At 15 with a super-conference that stretches from NJ to Texas and five of the top 10 football programs ever in one conference, there’d be one coveted spot left.
      Finally, at long last, Notre Dame will finish things off in June 2011.


      1. zeek

        The more I think about it, the more I like the Big Ten expanding by 2 and then 2 again and then 1.

        Notre Dame may be only willing to dance if it realizes that there’s only 1 spot left in a 16 team conference. As long as the Big Ten is at 11, Notre Dame knows that there’s not 5 schools better than it to join (heck only Texas can make that argument), so it knows it’s at the front of the line.

        But if the Big Ten moves to 13 through Nebraska/Rutgers or Nebraska/Missouri, then Notre Dame knows that it is still 2nd to Texas but there’s only 3 spots left (and most of us assume A&M would get one if Texas joins).

        Thus, a move to 13 may actually be enough to force Notre Dame to act or at least seriously consider the possibility of being left out of the Big Ten.

        Right now Notre Dame is not considering the possibility of being left out of the Big Ten because it doesn’t have to…; this is the whole problem with trying to bring Notre Dame in. Notre Dame gets the best of both worlds right now, it gets to play whoever it wants to, including Big Ten teams, and it gets to be independent for football. Obviously the economics of it will continue to become more and more disadvantageous, which would eventually force them to act on their own.

        But the problem is that right now there’s still a whopping 5 seats to fill and Notre Dame knows that it is 2nd in line or 3rd at worst behind the pair of Texas/A&M.

        Going to 15 by taking Nebraska/Rutgers or Nebraska/Missouri and then Texas/A&M may be the best way of telling Notre Dame that they have one last chance to consider the Big Ten before membership is walled off for 20-30 years.

        That is probably the most ideal scenario that one can come up with at this point. Also, if Notre Dame says no, then you can just round out the 16 by taking the other one of Missouri or Rutgers…


      2. duffman


        pick off Nebraska first..

        pick off Maryland second..

        leaves you 3 slots, for UT,A&M,ND

        if no from those 3..

        you can pick off UVA, Rutgers, Pitt, Mizzou, KU, etc at your leisure..

        this strategy accomplishes multiple things..

        a) you cherry pick NU & UM
        b) you show strong hand to go to 16
        c) you have final 3 (and backups) already lined up

        as said before, the day you hit 13 – you have served notice that you are serious about being a market leader.


        1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

          I don’t think the Big 10 is going to be resorting to back-up plans. They don’t need to. Sixteen is not the ultimate goal, in my mind. Creating a perfect 16 team conference IS the ultimate goal. This is a marriage forever, as far as the Big 10 schools are concerned. They don’t want to get into bed with Pitt or UVA (unless they LOVE Pitt, UVA and the like) if Texas/aTm/Notre Dame are still looming out there. Since the Big 10 is the frontrunner in all this, we can go to 12 now and wait. Or we can go to 13 now and wait. Or 14. Or 15.

          Seriously, there is no reason to take a school just to get to some magic number.

          Maybe I’m just being cocky b/c of the financial clout the Big 10 currently has, but I think it can wait for who it wants. If the SEC starts after two targets the Big 10 decides it wants in five years, well, then the Big 10 can fight the SEC for them (I’m not saying they’ll definitely win, but they’ve got a shot).

          It behooves them to be aggressive now, but not flippant. I think anything less than homerun schools is flippant.


  30. Adam

    I think Frank makes an excellent point here (which I’ve seen others make). The notion of adding some of the speculated members is a lot more interesting than actually playing them. (For my money, here’s looking at you Rutgers, Syracuse, and Maryland.) Additionally, I stand by my position that you can’t just put all of the top teams in the same basket (what Frank aptly described as a sort of an “all-MJ/LeBron basketball team”). (Here’s looking at scenarios involving adding more than one of Texas, Notre Dame, USC, schools in Florida, Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy.)

    The combination of these factors means I continue to believe that a 12-team league is the best balance of factors. So long as the team added is a Midwestern school and is not a money loser, I’m fine with it whoever they are, and Patrick’s analysis leads me to believe that it’s entirely possible that the addition of virtually any school would be profitable.

    Not that anybody asked, but I guess I wanted to reframe my own thinking on this subject.


    1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

      That is a tricky balance of strengthening the league but not watering down the league. But remember, in a 16 team conference nobody’s schedule would look like this, even if it would draw great ratings for that team and huge crowds.

      at Notre Dame
      vs. Texas
      at Penn State
      vs. Ohio State
      vs. Wisconsin
      at Michigan
      vs. Iowa
      at Texas A/M

      There will be Northwesterns and Minnesotas and Rutgers (I believe the one Big East shoe-in)…and even legendary programs have down years.

      I say this b/c I’m leaning on the “All MJ/LeBron conference” possibility. I just don’t think the Big 10 will add more than a team or two that could possibly wind up in the cellar every year. With so many super-powers, the media will give us the benefit of the doubt that the SEC currently gets, saying 10-2 in the Big 10(16) is far better than 10-2 in any other conference. And our conference champion will be all but guaranteed a spot in the NC game (like the SEC’s currently is (4 years in a row).


  31. jokewood

    Brainstorming here: if Texas makes clear to the Big Ten its intention to do its own thing, then why not pursue Texas A&M as a primary target for Big Ten expansion?

    Benefits for the Big Ten…

    1) Academic Fit: Texas A&M is a strong academic match for the Big Ten. It is a large, research-focused, state university with well-regarded faculty. It is an AAU school tied with Purdue and Minnesota in the USNWR undergrad rankings. Its ARWU rank falls between Michigan State and Indiana.

    2) Large Following: 80,000 seat football stadium.

    3) Name Program: while A&M does not have the cache of Texas or Nebraska (at least in football), it does carry more weight than a Rutgers or Missouri.

    4) Desirable Recruiting Footprint: Texas A&M would bring the Big Ten and the BTN into the state of Texas. I think recruiting is an underrated consideration of Big Ten expansion. The Big Ten needs to consider not only who will watch the BTN, but who will play for Big Ten teams in the future. Unfortunately, Big Ten teams are at a strong disadvantage recruiting the California, Texas, and Florida hotbeds. Expansion won’t solve this problem, but it should help.

    5) Expanded BTN Footprint: I don’t know how much of the state A&M could deliver on basic cable, but I imagine they could at least get the Houston market.

    6) BTN Content: A&M has finished in the Top 30 of the Sears/Directors Cup each of the last 6 years.

    7) Bait Texas: maybe the best way to get Texas is a Phase 1 strike close to home.

    Benefit for Texas A&M…

    1) Athletic Competitiveness: in football, the Big 12 has not been particularly kind to A&M. A&M has won the Big 12 only once and has not won the Big 12 South since 1998. While A&M’s coaching has not been stellar, the Big 12 South is simply a brutal division. Since 1996, they are 4-10 v Texas, 4-10 v Oklahoma, and 4-10 v Texas Tech. Meanwhile, the Big 12 is 15-5 against the Big Ten over the past 5 years. Maybe a change of scenery would be attractive?

    2) Money/Stability: when your arch rival is the wealthiest athletic program in the country, you need all the money you can get.

    3) Academics: CIC, etc.

    Other thoughts:

    — Texas legislature: the issue with the legislature, at least as I read it, is protection of the smaller schools. If Baylor and Tech are still sheltered by Texas, would anyone care if A&M leaves?

    — Texas/A&M rivalry: obviously, this would be a big issue. A&M seems to care more about this than Texas. they could still play OOC, but it has been an n-conference rivalry for the last 100 years. of course, Texas could fix this by joining too.

    — Geography / Texas identity, etc: I have a hard time imaging the Texas schools giving up their Texas-centric conference identity without a fight.


    1. Albino Tornado

      Heh. A&M hired Bill Byrne, and suddenly everything but football’s competitve at a football school. Who *ever* could have predicted such a thing?


    2. It’s an interesting, outside-the-box proposal, so let me provide some Texas-influenced perspective.

      I’m assuming that you’re proposing chasing A&M if and only if Texas has made it clear that it will not go to the Big 10. In that case, I doubt A&M would have that much of a political hurdle. Even assuming that the fates of Texas and A&M are intertwined by the Texas Legislature (I’m not entirely sold on that, but we’ll assume it for here), I’m not sure how pro-Texas legislators could, with a straight face, prevent A&M from making that move if Texas itself had turned it down. And I seriously doubt that Texas would fight the move too strenuously if A&M was hellbent on moving to a conference Texas rejected.

      Again, this is kind of an oddball scenario, as I imagine that Texas has something else up its sleeve that would ultimately be more appealing to the Aggies than a solo move to the north. And, if Texas and Texas A&M were to split, I think an A&M move to the SEC makes more sense for the school than a move to the Big 10.

      An aside on Texas politics: it wasn’t so much that Texas “sheltered” Baylor and Texas Tech 15 years ago as it was that the prevailing pro-Tech and pro-Baylor forces within the Legislature were strong enough to force Texas AND A&M to bring the two puppies with them into the Big XII. The specific legislative forces which existed 15 years ago no longer exist. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the present make-up of the Texas Legislature, and where forced aligned with particular schools might be, is pretty limited, and I haven’t seen anyone else prepare this sort of analysis. Perhaps there’s a prominent Tech grad chairing a committee through which Texas and A&M would have to pass at some point. Who knows.

      I do know one thing that’s frustrated me over the years as a Texas booster has been the fact that, at the undergraduate level, it’s certainly a very good school, but I cannot call it a great school. With more money in its oil-fueled endowment than God, but not Harvard, there’s really no excuse for Texas not being on par with the Berkeleys of the world. It’s close, but not quite there. (The school is much closer at the graduate level.) The general consensus of those who follow UT is that legislative meddling has prevented Texas from reaching its full potential as the nation’s premier public undergraduate institution. So if the Legislature can screw up Texas on the academic side, it can certainly do so on the athletics side regardless of which alum from which school chairs which committee.


      1. jokewood

        I suspect Texas fans look down on Texas A&M the same way Michigan fans look down on Michigan State. Yet Michigan State is still a strong research school, and most objective measurements indicate Texas A&M is as well.


    3. m (Ag)

      If UT decided to move to the Pac 10 without A&M, or decided to stay in a Big 12 that was losing several of it’s best northern members, A&M would certainly consider moving to the Big 10 alone.

      The faculty members would doubtless push for the move to boost the academic reputation. However, I agree with Hopkins that the administration might prefer an SEC move if an offer was made. I think joining the Big 10 with 1 close school (UT) is more appealing than joining with no close schools. In the SEC, Arkansas and LSU would make up for losing any of the current Big 12 rivals other than UT. Having A&M as the biggest (or only) representative from Texas in the SEC might actually be the best thing for recruiting.

      However, the money in the expanded Big 10 might still be better than an expanded SEC. Even if the money is even, the academic argument could lead administrators to choose the Big 10.

      Of course, if the SEC threat of expansion is a bluff, Texas A&M should find the choice easy to go to the Big 10.

      If A&M does move to the Big 10, the Big Ten Network would make onto just about every cable network in the state (maybe around Texas Tech they’ll lodge some sort of protest). They might have to accept a little less than the full ‘in state’ rate agreed to in a state like Michigan or Ohio, but it will be quite profitable to the Big 10.


    4. Wes Haggard

      Provocative and thoughtful article. I have been reading the subscription link for Texas A&M tonight. Split is about 50-50 between the Big Ten and the SEC. Should Texas follow their heart but not their logic and wind up with a Colorado soul mate in the Pac Ten, it would not harm the Presidents of the Big Ten to give Texas A&M a long look. Certainly, A&M would become a truly contributing member of the Big Ten.


      1. @Wes Haggard – Very interesting that it’s a 50/50 split with the Aggie crowd. I always assumed that a clear majority at A&M would prefer the SEC, although A&M is a much better academic school compared to 20 years ago (and in terms of research, would contribute as much to the Big Ten as anyone that we’ve talked about). Maybe it’s the “Big Ten compromise” that creates a superconference – Texas may slightly prefer the Pac-10 and A&M may slightly prefer the SEC, but both of them like the Big Ten well enough that they’d join together.


        1. Wes Haggard

          Frank, you are an experienced blogger and I confess to amatuer status. But I think you can relate to reading a response and you wonder what planet the blogger fell off from and reading an intelligent blogger who did a smidgen of research before that blogger pulled his emotionally trigger. Logically speaking. Academically speaking. Political power to enable research and endowments to increase. Better graduate studies and interchanges, and last but not least, athletically speaking, I cannot imagine any reason that behind closed doors, it is not already a done deal. As a matter of fact, I think your Death Star conference is a done deal with the small exception of the Notre Dame people that have just not got their minds right yet. Need a little more time and that is the reason for the announcement delay. Too clearly, it is a win, win, win for all the new teams in your death star setup. And a win, win, win for the existing Big Ten schools too.


          1. @Wes Haggard – I definitely vacillate back-and-forth about the prospects of Texas and Texas A&M in the Big Ten. Some days, I think that it’s completely dead and other days, I receive tidbits that indicate that getting the Texas schools is really the centerpiece of the Big Ten’s plans. I believe that the Big Ten would like an Eastern presence, but I highly doubt it’s going to perform a wholesale raid of the Big East without Notre Dame joining. In that sense, ND can call the Big Ten’s “bluff” (for lack of a better term as a I don’t think the conference is bluffing about expansion as a general concept). However, I do believe that the Big Ten’s interest in Missouri and Nebraska is very legitimate regardless of who comes along with them and they’d be money-makers for the conference. Losing both of those schools would really hurt the Big XII (especially Nebraska), which in turn hurts the Texas schools. Are the Texas schools really going to let Mizzou and Nebraska walk away to double or triple their revenue while simultaneously devaluing the Big XII’s TV contracts? That’s really the crux of the Big Ten’s potential strategy. The status quo for the Texas schools is much more likely to be upended than for ND even though the perception is that the BE is the conference that’s going to fall apart.


      2. @Wes:

        So I’m guessing you’re an Aggie. I guess that’s OK. 🙂

        What’s you’re feeling about how the Aggies would feel about a move to the Pac 10 relative to potential moves to the Big 10 and SEC?

        And is there a general belief as to whether, from a political standpoint, Texas would be able to move by itself without having to bring A&M along (for example, the Big 10 votes to invite ONLY Texas to join)?


        1. Wes Haggard

          Hopkins, my best friend ever was a Longhorn. What a wonderful human he was and his memory lets me take your usual sip arrogance without need for a long rebuttal. I do not believe the Texas Legislature would do anything but stand up and applaud a Longhorn/Aggie move to the BIG TEN. Ann Richards is history and so is Bob Bullock. Our Governor is an AG. Politically, no rumors are good because no denails or necessary. Just a final announcement. Another reason that I think both our schools will accept membership is that the Texas newspaper have been silent on the subject of expansion even though newspaper and other media nation wide have written and spoken at length. At this time in history, I would not be surprised that the leaders of our schools could ask the media for no comments with out facts. Facts being a public announcement.


        1. That would be particularly crazy when you consider that it would almost certainly be a rematch of an OOC game played five weeks earlier!

          I suppose the same thing could happen if ND did join the Big 10 and kept the same scheduling regimen with USC, with the games in LA generally played the last weekend of the season.


          1. m (Ag)

            One thing I’ve been thinking about in these discussions: if UT goes to the Pac 10 and A&M goes to the Big 10, there might be some push by the conferences to move the rivalry game earlier in the season. Bowl games tend to avoid rematches when they can, and a rematch that occurred just a few weeks past between 2 schools from the same state would be a bit more undesirable from a national perspective (it would get huge ratings in Texas). This conflict wouldn’t happen if A&M joined the SEC, since they wouldn’t get chosen for the same BCS bowl unless it was the national championship game.

            Anyway, pondering the conflicts involved, I came up with a list of things I’d like UT, A&M and the 2 conferences to agree to if one school joined the Pac 10 and the other the Big 10:

            1) A&M and UT play every year on either Thanksgiving or the day after. The 2 conferences will agree to the date and time for a particular year in advance.

            2) Neither the Big 10 or Pac 10 will schedule another game at the same time as the A&M/UT game. Let the game be the national showcase for both conferences for those 3 hours.

            3) The conferences will coordinate the schedule for the 2 schools the week before the game. Since they’re playing on a short week, both schools get a bye or both schools play on the same day. If they play the week before Thanksgiving, the team hosting the game will travel the week before & the visiting team will have a home game the week before.

            For example, if UT plays Colorado the week before Thanksgiving and A&M plays Missouri, then one year you get A&M@MO; CO@UT followed by UT@A&M; the next year you get MO@A&M; UT@CO followed by A&M@UT.

            4) If UT wins the Pac 10 and A&M wins the Big 10, and neither team is in the national championship game, the Rose Bowl must take the team that won the UT/A&M game. If the other BCS bowls agree, the Rose Bowl can choose to let the losing team go to another BCS bowl.

            Going to the Fiesta, Sugar, or Rose Bowl wouldn’t be much of a penalty, but it would be an additional psychological blow that you were kept out of a specific game by your rival. If we’re really going to 16 team conferences, this rule wouldn’t be used often, especially since at least one of the 2 conference champions will likely be playing in the national title game. Nevertheless, I’d agree to it in order to keep the rivalry game at the end of the regular season.


          2. m (Ag)

            “Wow, you expect half the college football world to bend over backwards for your little rivalry game.”

            How? It’s not affecting anything the ACC, Big East, or SEC does.

            The scheduling is something conferences balance all the time. The SEC & ACC leave space for FSU to play Florida, Georgia Tech to play Georgia, and Clemson to play South Carolina the week before their conference title games. I just want an agreement that one conference doesn’t throw a bye in at the last minute to give it’s team in a nationally televised game an edge.

            The bowl agreement is the Rose Bowl’s option, to prevent it from being forced to accept a rematch that was played a few weeks back. It would only be accepted if the other BCS bowls agree, which means at least one of those bowls would prefer to take the loser of the game. Like I said, this part wouldn’t happen often.

            How is anyone being asked to ‘bend over’ for the game?


          3. @Greg:

            What M(ag) said.

            I merely pointed out that, if Texas wound up in the Pac 10 and the Aggies in the Big 10, the two schools could have a Rose Bowl rematch of a game played five weeks earlier. How in the world is that asking anyone to “bend over” for it?!?


  32. Ron

    There’s this play called “Waiting for Godot” where the entire plot line revolves around a couple of guys waiting for someone who never comes. Maybe that’s a parable for the Big Ten’s current situation (“Waiting for Notre Dame” or “Waiting for Texas”). Am not convinced it is wise for the Big Ten to wait for any school with some pretty attractive candidates already currently available and the conference at a height of financial and academic strength relative to other conferences. Nebraska will serve pretty well as a prestige school for football and is adequate in other respects. Beyond that, there is an huge, densely populated and wealthy region of the country consisting of western Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut whose markets can be sewn up at once by taking Pitt, Syr, Rut and UConn (or at least 3 of the 4). People in the northeast are culturally pretty consistent with the Big Ten, they value education and would (eventually) even follow college football if they have a major conference to follow. Yes, none of the northeast schools are huge football brand names right now, but Syracuse and Pitt have been in the past and all of them (including Rutgers and UConn) could be in the future. Plus the Big Ten is already invested in Penn State, which sits right in the middle of the northeast region where this expansion would occur. The Big Ten sits at a point in its history where it can fulfill its destiny as a national conference by taking a package like Nebraska, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and UConn and move up to 16 teams. Thinking big picture, the alternative of sewing up the (relatively) sparsely populated great plains with schools like Kansas and Missouri seems pretty weak. Yes, Notre Dame and Texas would be really nice to have, but… Maybe they are not coming for whatever reason. Maybe the Big Ten should not leave spaces for them and it should instead grab the very substantial markets available now in the northeast. The Big Ten going to twelve (by adding Nebraska) or going to sixteen (by adding Nebraska plus at least three out of Pitt, Syr, Rut and UConn) both seem workable. Anything in-between seems a weak compromise lacking long-term vision.


    1. zeek

      There’s still a question of whether the northeastern schools can deliver those markets.

      Does anyone really think that Penn State is not the biggest fish in the Northeast for football (in terms of physical presence)? BC is probably a distant second. Notre Dame has more pull in the NY/NJ markets than any of the schools present in those states as well.

      The Big Ten has been around since the early 1900s and will be around for a long time to come. Adding a member is like marriage but without the possibility of divorce; whoever we add, we should want in 2020, 2030, 2040, and 2050 and beyond.

      Being hasty when the biggest chips are still on the table is folly. This is all a courtship dance in some sense. No matter how long it takes, it is in the Big Ten’s best interest to figure out how to run an inside straight and bag Texas, Notre Dame, and Nebraska.

      There’s no reason to go to 16 schools until we know that it’s the configuration we want many years from now. Rutgers/Pitt/Syracuse/Conn will always be in play as possible additions, so there’s no reason to grab them unless we’re sure they add to the conference.


      1. Ron

        Would suggest the value of the Penn State football franchise may decline (or at least not rise as much) if we don’t get some schools around them in the northeast. Also, the Big East is such a weak league in football image that it continually devalues the schools that participate in it no matter how strong their programs. The longer the Big Ten waits, the less these schools will be worth as football draws. Beyond that, we’re currently regarding 16 teams as some kind of long term hard cap on the number of teams a conference can have, which I question. Maybe the Big Ten should go ahead and successfully develop the northeast markets, demonstrating power that makes Notre Dame and/or Texas conclude that it would be sheer folly to reject a Big Ten offer in the future when the conference goes to 18 or 20 members…


        1. Kyle

          I disagree. I think you’re letting the sugar bowl outcome color your whole perception of the conference. Since the ACC raid, the Big East has out performed the ACC. Game attendance and viewership have steadily increased across the conference. The Big east programs may be undervalued, but they are not devalued by their membership.


        2. zeek

          The problem is that we’re in uncharted territory at 14 and up.

          We don’t really know whether $ is enough to make a 16 school conference like the fact that most of them will not play some of the other schools as much. 18-20 team leagues don’t really seem to be in the cards.

          A handful of 14-16 team conferences sitting around sharing the spoils of war seems to be more in the cards.

          We all know how much some of the schools will get upset when they don’t get the bigger schools coming to visit them as often and giving them an ESPN game, etc.

          Just jumping to 14 is a big leap of faith; going to 16 right now is an even larger one. The Big Ten presidents don’t seem to be the type to just go to 16 immediately. They’ll probably invite them in with a strategy in mind. Trying to incorporate all of them at once may devalue the nature of the conference.


          1. Robert F

            I don’t believe some of the lower tier big ten schools would be upset with Texas, A&M and Nebraska being added to their schedule. If they were in the conference with OSU, Mich. and PSU and occasionally played one or more of the three new member schools it would only add to their attendance, and would be an added attraction for their fans.


        3. zeek

          Also, a school like Rutgers is just starting to rise into a level of national prominence; we’d all like to know whether Rutgers can continue on this track and become an even bigger deal in New Jersey even among people who didn’t go there.

          Of course there’s an argument to be made that the Big Ten schools traveling there will stir up the Big Ten alumni in northern New Jersey as well.


          1. Ron

            @zeek, both you and Kyle raise reasonable points, it has just been my experience in life that people who sit around and wait for just the exact right opportunity tend to get eclipsed by those who aggressively pursue their goals (even though the latter make more mistakes and make themselves more open to criticism). There are some awfully big opportunities for the Big Ten right now in the northeast if they go all in.


    2. m (Ag)

      Hey, it’s only been a few months. In terms of the impact these moves would make, that’s no time at all.

      Now, if they’re sure behind the scenes that the first tier schools won’t come, they should quickly invite the second tier. If there’s some wiggle room there, there’s no problem with waiting a little longer.


    1. greg

      That article about Texas to the SEC is interesting, but it certainly doesn’t sound like it “nearly happened”. The Texas AD had interest. Nothing was stated about the university president being on board, or any of the uppity-ups, who really control a university’s fate.


    2. duffman


      thanks for the link.. great read.. this part was best part..

      “You’re not going to do it,” Byers demanded.

      Oh yes we are, Schiller responded.

      In 1992, the SEC made history by holding its inaugural championship game.

      “de Tocqueville said the revolution only tells you something that already took place,” Schiller said.

      *Ponders Delaney and Jim Isch going head to head in a death cage match with winner take all*



    3. Mike

      I really want to hear from the Texas alums/fans that can tell us if this story is accurate. I have always heard that Texas would never even consider the SEC.


      1. I can’t personally vouch for its accuracy, but it wouldn’t be surprising if it were true.

        Keep in mind that, 20+ years ago, Texas would not have been bargaining from nearly the position of strength it has today. Its football teams would have been mired in the middle of their 12-year run of mediocrity. My years at UT were in the middle of this period, and I don’t recall ever seeing more than 62Kish at home games except when A&M visited. The idea of an expansion to 100K+ seats within a couple of decades would have seemed ludicrous.

        The basketball team had always been mediocre, and Tom Penders (the coach who, despite his weaknesses, played a key role in helping Texas escape mediocrity) was not yet on the scene.

        DeLoss Dodds would have only been the AD for no more than a decade by this point, and though I don’t have the numbers in front of me, I would severely doubt that Texas was anywhere near the money-making machine it is today.

        Perhaps most importantly, Texas was in the scandal-marred SWC (thanks, SMU, Houston & A&M) which most observers could tell was already in its death throes. Texas needed out much more desperately then than it does today.

        So even if the same levels of academically-driven snobbery existed then which exist today on the 40 Acres, it’s entirely feasible in my mind that Texas would have considered much more seriously an offer from the SEC, given all the other circumstances.

        Today, Texas is the prettiest girl at the dance, as has been noted by many other commenters here not named Hopkins Horn. Texas wasn’t in 1989. Texas has the luxury of being much pickier this time around.


      2. Theta

        Don’t think that story of Texas wanting to join the SEC is true. The story I’ve heard is that Frank Broyles convinced the SEC to take Arkansas and that he could convince Texas to follow. Obviously Texas didn’t follow.


    4. Wes Haggard

      This is a much later edition of facts about Texas A&M to the SEC. Texas was headed to the PAC TEN when the Baylor Governor and the Texas Tech Speaker of the House killed the party and pretty well forced the formation of the Big Twelve. Now the Governor is a Texas A&M graduate. I don’t see a problem with any schools in Texas following their logic to a new conference affliation. The loan exception would be if Texas wants the Big Ten without and invite for Texas A&M.


      1. I think it always bears mentioning (no pun intended) when this topic comes up that Baylor’s cause certainly wasn’t harmed by the governor at the time being a Baylor grad, but the key player who pushed for Baylor’s inclusion in the Big XII was a state senator named David Sipley, a Baylor grad who represented Waco. He, and Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, a Tech grad, were the key players. Sipley is long gone from the state senate, and Bullock is long gone from this earth.

        Wes is correct that the Texas governor is an Aggie, but you non-Texans might recall one of the criticisms thrown at then-Gov. Bush during the 2000 campaign was that his experience as Texas governor wasn’t that important since the Texas governor is constitutionally weaker than any governor in the country. The Lt. Gov is where the real power is, and the current Lt. Gov. is, believe it or not, an Arizona grad. (And this is one place where I can add personal knowledge, and without getting into details, my recollections of the LG are of a man who wouldn’t care about this issue one bit, so the fact that he’s a UA grad wouldn’t mean that the Pac 10 would have a leg up luring UT & A&M.)


        1. Wes Haggard

          You asked in an earlier statement how I would feel if Texas went to the PAC TEN alone. Most Aggies would help you pack your bags and wish you well and look forward to T-Day. In my mind, and the posters that I have read,we identify with the staunch Midwestern character, and family beliefs of the Big Ten more so than the liberal Pelosi’s and educational attitudes of the UC Berkley’s no matter how high UC is rated on the USNWR. Most AGGIES have similar feelings about LSU as you guys do about “What Time IS IT?” so I can understand the lure of the SEC. But I think the leaders of Texas A&M don’t play football. They play budgets and academia and the BIG TEN is a no brainer. If you guys followed your heart West, and the Aggies were invited to and accepted an invitation to the BIG TEN, each school would have quite a story to tell prospective recruits about the Road to the Rose Bowl. I would rather lace my story with my daughter in laws “Horseshoe” and her hated rivals “Big House, and “On Wisconsin” and my sons father in laws endless stories of his alma maters “Joe Pa” than USC and Cal and Stanford.


          1. Interesting perspective.

            So let me ask the question another way: let’s say the Big 10 grabs NU and Mizzou. The Big XII is weakened considerably but remains alive.

            Texas works out a deal to move to the Pac 10 and can bring A&M along. Do you think A&M would go, or would the “kindred spirits” argument you make which seems to be prevalent amongst A&M alums would led A&M to go down with the Big XII ship?


          2. Wes Haggard

            Hopkins, Good question. As I said above, I think the Big Ten is a no brainer and I would love to join with Texas. Better the enemy you know and respect than the unknown and it would be good to help each other with the “newness” of the Big Ten while we are making our way with the existing powers and trying to fit in while holding on to our values at the same time. Politically, I think it might get nasty if Texas tried to go by themselves. We are both the State’s most recognized universities so I think a united front would play well in the capital. And I think the Tech’s and Baylor’s no longer have white knight(s). Love M’s emphasis on keeping the T-Day TV nationally to ourselves and I think that might be another of the back room deals that is being worked out. Egos such as our, especially yours (he he) need stroking and this is one time that I am glad you have a big forceful ego I believe it help the state very much.


  33. mmc22

    I will like to explain to everybody, in plain English, what exactly this “buy-in” means for the new teams and way it’s actually necessary and nobody is screw-up here.
    First and foremost, B10 owns 51% of B10 Network which is estimated at approximately $1 billion. Because of the equal sharing of B10 each team owns a 4.67% of the B10 Network and at the end of the year they equally share the profit from it.
    Secondly, PAC-10, SEC, ACC, BIG XII, BE they own nothing, nada, so if you join one of these conferences you basically are on equal ground with everybody.
    When you join B10 all those existing members have approximately $50 million invested in equity already and the new members have to buy shares from the existing ones until everybody owns the same percentage(3.18% in a 16 team scenario). The 3.18% that each new team will buy is an investment not an “entry fee”. It can go up or down like any other investment and more important it is your money. If 20 years from now you decide to leave the conference the remaining teams will buy your shares back at the market value and you’ll probably make a profit.
    What most people here think is another way of B10 screwing with the new teams actually is a very good investment offer to join B10. You can’t expect to share the profits without being a partner and without the B10 Network profits the benefits of joining B10 are not that great. Remember nothing is free in America and if you want to make money you have to invest money.


    1. mushroomgod

      The problem with that analysis is that the BTN’s “equity” isn’t like other investments. The Big 10 took a gamble and won…thus the BTN has worth, measured by presumed profits going forward. No Big 10 team has paid $50M into the BTN fund. If they had, there would be no dispute.

      The Big 10 isn’t going to liquidate and sell off its tables and chairs for $1B.

      The question going forward is: does the stream of anticipated profits increase enough from the addition of these teams that the Big 10 makes more, not less $, when divided 14 ways v. 11. If so, then these teams are adding value of their own, in terms of name recognition, academic and athletic prestige. The error you make is presuming that these teams are offering no “consideration”, when they in fact are.

      I understand that for bookkeeping purposes, these teams might not be equal owners of the BTN. However, they can “buy” their way in, for bookkeeping purposes, over time, by remaining in the league. In that event if Fox wanted to sell to CBS (for example), any actual $s received would fo to the older members, in the early years…., less whatever immediate worth the others have created by their presence.

      If the additional members are not adding net value to the league, given consideration of new markets, increased ratings etc when divided by 14 rather than 11, don’t add them.


      1. duffman



        I still have not seen a REAL number!

        what it is worth (the Billion number)
        actual capital outlay (by each Big 10 school)

        when I read this thing awhile back, I got the impression that fox put up the capital and intangibles (labor & equipment) as their “buy in” for their 49% + managing and staffing ongoing operations (which sounds like the Big 10 just put up their “names”). If someone can link hard Big 10 cost, please do so.

        I can say my house is worth 1 Billion, but if I can not find a buyer and possess clear title at that point, it is all speculation.


    2. Wes Haggard

      If I am the President of Texas and or Texas A&M and the Big Ten wishes to “Bill our University” so that our state can supply the Big Ten with 25 million new BTN subscribers? Well, I an not to sure that I could see the return on the investment there. Maybe the two Texas institutions should bill the Big Ten for providing the other eleven members the opportunity to make a whole lot more money. But, maybe you are right. Maybe this is really sticking the the Texas craw and the negotiations are at a stale mate. Possibility exists.


    3. RedDenver

      There’s significant problem to making new Big Ten members buy-in to the BTN – that substantials reduces the value of joining the Big Ten. As a Husker fan I’ll use Nebraska to illustrate. Let’s say B10 invites NU and requires a $5 million per year for 10 year buy-in. Nebraska then has to decide if the expected $5M per year increase in TV revenue ($22M BTN – $12M current – $5M buy-in) over the next 10 years is worth the buy-out clause for the B12 (loss of 50% conference earnings for 2 years or 90% for one year) which I roughly estimate at $10M-$20M. The Huskers are #4 most valueable athletic program according to Forbes and know they are worth a crapload of money to the BTN. I just don’t see them taking a huge pay cut for 1-2 years and being finanacially disabled compared to the rest of the conference for a decade just to join a conference which might make more money for them 10 years down the line. Keep in mind that NU makes $8M-$12M per home game so they could add an extra home game each year and do better from a revenue perspective.

      Teams like Pitt, Mizzou, KU, and others are in similar positions. I doubt the B10 could lure them away while charging them money. In fact, a team like Nebraska could require the B10 to pay their buy-out money to the old conference as a concession to joining. These things make me think the expansion talk is not as clearly favorable to teams joining the B10 as some are claiming.


  34. Mike

    KState’s AD John Currie. Sounds like he is being pestered by his fan base. I wonder what he meant by proactvie steps by Dan Beebe.

    The National Scene: There has been lots of news, or perhaps more correctly “talk” recently circulating regarding conference expansion. While there are all sorts of scenarios and conspiracy theories floating around the national media, primarily in potential reaction to changes the Big Ten may or may not make, K-State is well-positioned in a terrific conference like the Big 12. We have great national brands in our league (including the Powercat!), are rated as one of the top two conferences in most of our sports (number one in men’s and women’s basketball), have 14-percent of the nation’s population in our geographic footprint and almost four million alumni and friends of our 12 institutions spread coast to coast. I like the proactive comments and steps Commissioner Beebe has taken and believe our league can continue to be not just viable, but among the leaders in college athletics.


    1. zeek

      Well, he’s trying to put as positive a light as he can on it.

      KState’s only hope of being a big time college sports team is to hope the Big 12 stays together. They’re the most likely team other than Baylor to end up without a BCS conference if Texas does anything. Texas really does hold the fates of Iowa State/KState/Baylor/Tech in its hands…


      1. Justin

        Iowa State is in the worst shape. Kansas State could at least use politics to try and force their way into the same conference as Kansas.

        ISU has no such card to play. The Hawkeyes are firmly entrenched in the Big 10. Its not as if Iowa and ISU have been conference rivals, and thus go together.

        ISU’s only shot at a Big 10 invite is a sixteen (16) team Big 10 where the vote is 8-3, and the Iowa legislature basically forces Iowa to ram Iowa State into the conference.


        1. Gopher86

          They can try to use politics, but I’m fairly positive it won’t work. The Kansas government isn’t going to allow KU to pass up a golden parachute for KSU’s sake. The state is strapped for funding as it is, so KU’s inclusion in either the Pac-10 or the Big 10 is a windfall.


  35. prophetstruth

    I don’t know why people think the Big10 is going to play games and try to force ND or any other school into the Big10. If ND doesn’t want in the Big10, I honestly think the Big10 is ok with it. I don’t think the Big10’s intent moving forward is some power play for ND. The Big10 has already issued a press release saying if ND, wants in they need to make the move and contact the Big10. To me that says we still like you and want you but we are not about to play games, we have moved on. The Big10 is not going to force a marriage with ND. The relationship of being in the Big10 may last a lifetime so you want schools who want to be in it with you after-all it is share and share alike in the Big10.

    FLP_NDRox: You keep bringing up ancient history regarding Fielding Yost and the alleged blackballing of ND. I didn’t even know who Fielding Yost was. I called my brother, a big Notre Dame fan and he was like who is that – where does he coach?

    By your accounts African-Americans should hold the racist and unwelcoming environment that existed for blacks on ND’s campus during it’s early history against ND. I don’t see you advocating for Blacks to avoid going to ND to play football because it is obvious that ND can not be trusted to do right by Blacks – you did fire Ty Willingham after 3 years.

    The Big10 does not have it out for ND. Why would the Big10 Presidents waste time and money trying to screw ND. ND may not want to join up with the Big10 and that is ok, but don’t make out like the Big10 has nothing to offer ND. At least be honest and civil if you are going to participate in the discussion.

    I personally think ND is going to the Big10. The writing is on the wall. Before long ND will no longer be able to remain independent for whatever that’s worth nowadays. Scheduling will be a problem and when the BCS decides ND will no longer be afforded special status ND will be out.

    Seems to me, a conference that wants you in their conference, has held a spot for you for over 20 years, and has fans saying we want ND in with us should be appreciated instead of vilified. The overwhelming majority of Big10 Fans I know want ND in the conference. While I understand the desire to remain independent, I do not understand the Big10 hatred.


    1. zeek

      I only say that because that’s how I think Delaney and the Big Ten presidents think. They probably believe that at this point the Big Ten is so attractive that Notre Dame can’t possibly hold out as an independent through another NBC TV negotiation after 2015 with the prospect of making $10M a year versus $22M+ at least with the Big Ten.

      They don’t want to screw Notre Dame over; in fact we probably have every reason to believe that if Notre Dame ever wants a spot, it’ll get one as long as the Big Ten has less than 16 teams…


  36. FLP_NDRox

    @ Prophetstruth

    I think the reason it’s an issue is the dearth of obvious homerun candidates and people’s love of conspiracy theories.

    As for your comments directed to me:
    I only point out history to demonstrate that there are historical reasons for ND’s distrust of the B10’s motives and behaviors and not mere paranoia. OK, perhaps I should have included that the B10 has nothing *more* to offer ND *than it did in 1999, except for an investment opportunity in a cable channel*. If merely pointing out historical incidents that most here are not fully aware of makes me uncivil, then I’m uncivil. But, I think the historical lack of trust between ND, UM, and to a lesser extent to the Big Ten as a conference entity has some bearing in ND’s response to the B10’s overtures. The reason it is met with scorn is because there’s a fundamental distrust of the Big Ten by Domers.

    The reality is that if ND is squeezed out of the BCS, it will likely be the Big 10, Pac 10 and SEC doing the squeezing. The Bowls love ND. That’s how ND gets a Fiesta Bowl invite in 1995 with a 6-4-1 record. Actually, I’m sure you all can come up with invites the Irish “didn’t deserve”. Why? Because the BOWLS LOVE ND. I doubt they’ll voluntarily exclude ND. I don’t think ND will be squeezed out.

    I don’t think the Big Ten wants to screw ND. I think they want to use ND. I also think that the use of ND by the Big Ten will be to ND’s detriment.

    I said it before, I’ll say it again:
    I don’t have a problem being the Big Ten’s neighbor. I just think being roommates is a bad idea.


    1. prophetstruth


      Your premise would assume that ND didn’t join because the Big10 wasn’t attractive enough. By all accounts it’s because ND wants to remain independent in football if at all possible. So, I don’t see JD or the Big10 Presidents wasting time trying to devise ways to force ND into the Big10. There are plenty of schools that want into the Big10.


      You have pointed out one incident from Fielding Yost a long time ago as historical reasons for ND’s distrust. What are all these other historical incidents? Again using your rationale, African-Americans, most definitely have reason to distrust ND.

      I never stated the reason why you were being uncivil and it had nothing to do with your one historical anecdote regarding Fielding Yost from the 20’s and 30’s. Mostly it’s your arrogance and attempt to make snide remarks regarding the Big10.

      In all seriousness, if ND distrusts Michigan and the Big10 so much then why even schedule schools from the conference? If you are going to make statements, back them up with evidence and not something from ions ago when most of us weren’t even born. What other examples can you site as why some of the Domers (because I know plenty that would love to join the Big10) have fundamental distrust of the Big10. They must be either really old or hold really long grudges.

      Why would the Big10 want to use ND? For what? Money? Each Big10 school already makes more than ND. Football prowess? Academics? Research? Seems to me Notre Dame is doing the using and not the other way around. After-all what is Notre Dame bringing to the table other than their historical name that hasn’t translated into success on the field in nearly 20 years.

      Notre Dame may be loved by the bowls, however if ND’s seat keeps diminishing as a result of its independent status, rule changes favoring conferences, consolidation, etc., ND could find itself on the outside looking in. And that is a reality the AD and President can see even if ND’s irrational fanbase can not.

      Lastly, I don’t think most Big10 fans would lose any sleep if ND did not join the Big10 no matter how much it hurt you in the end.


      1. mushroomgod

        Just to clarify—the ND adm. and faculty trusted the Big 10 enough in ’99 to join. It was the psycho Fielding Yost-spouting alums who have kept the parties apart.


      2. zeek

        But it wasn’t, go back 10 years ago years ago, and the Notre Dame contract was the hottest thing in college sports.

        The Big Ten and SEC took it to another level in just the past 3 years with TV revenue due to CBS, ESPN, and the Big Ten Network.

        The last time the Big Ten actively considered expansion was in 2003, and Notre Dame’s contract was as good as anything else out there at the time.

        The developments of the last two years have proven that even as big as a draw as Notre Dame is, it can’t earn as much now as the teams in the biggest revenue generating leagues. Notre Dame will have to contend with that fact when it renews its contract with NBC in 2015.

        Either Notre Dame will decide, we don’t mind taking in 1/2 what a Big Ten team would be since we prefer the national independent schedule.

        At that point, I think the nail is in the coffin and the door is shut tight. We still haven’t seen Notre Dame have to make such a decision, but it will happen soon no matter what happens with Big Ten expansion this year.


      3. cutter

        If anyone is interested in reading about the Michigan-Notre Dame football rivalry, I would strongly recommend John Kryk’s “Natural Enemies: The Notre Dame-Michigan Football Feud”. Even if you might not have a strong interest in either school, you’ll probably enjoy it as a college football fan.

        You’ll also probably note that the Michigan-Notre Dame football rivalry is one of the more unique in collegiate sports. Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect about is that for long periods of time, the representatives of the two universities hated one another so much that no games were scheduled between them. Those hatreds were personified by four people–Michigan’s Fielding H. Yost and Fritz Crisler and Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy–and their relationships with one another.

        Michigan taught Notre Dame how to play football in 1887 and the two schools had a fairly good relationship (not perfect) for over twenty years. What people have to keep in mind is that at that time, Notre Dame was roughly comparable to a modern day junior college in terms of academics while Michigan was the largest university in the country (number of students, etc.). You can imagine that helped shape a lot of opinions from the onset.

        I won’t go into a lot of the details, but the breakup started in 1910 and the two schools didn’t play again until a home-and-home series in 1942 and 1943 (Rockne had died in a plane crash in the 30s and Yost was finally persuaded to play Notre Dame at the end of his career as Michigan’s athletic director).

        The two schools both went undefeated in 1947 and both claimed the national championship. There was a huge clamor for the two universities to participate in a special championship game to decide it all. Both teams were loaded with talent (including a lot of vets who had returned from World War 2), but in the end, it never came off (even though the newspapers were calling on President Truman to organize the game).

        The series took another hiatus until 1978, when it was restarted by mutual agreement by the two schools in 1969. Not coincidentally, Fritz Crisler retired as Michigan’s AD the previous year.

        The game has been played almost continuously through the present day. There have been some breaks in the series (1982/3, 1995/6, 2000/1), but its been a relative constant for essentially 33 years now. The current agreement runs through 2031 with another break scheduled in the 2018/19 seasons.

        Why did the series get restarted after so many decades of acrimony? For Michigan, it was an opportunity to reignite a moribund football program that was not very good for most of the 1960s. UM’s new AD, Don Canham, wanted to fill the stadium and one of the ways he knew how was to get Notre Dame back on the schedule. The irony of the situation was that he didn’t need ND to do it–Bo Schembechler turned the program around and there have been consistent sell outs since 1975 (three years before the UM-ND series restarted).

        So why did Notre Dame want to play Michigan? Didn’t ND’s president and athletic director know how poorly Yost and Crisler had treated the Fighting Irish over the years? I have no doubt the answer to the second question is yes.

        I suspect the answer to the first question is that Notre Dame has been operating somewhat in Michigan’s wake. That may be hard to fathom given ND’s popularity, but keep in mind the relationship back in the late 19th century, ND getting snubbed in its attempts to join the Western Conference, Michigan saying “no” to Notre Dame several times when it came to playing a game, the fact that ND’s stadium is a deliberate copy of Michigan’s, etc. Notre Dame has absolutely no “awe” factor for Michigan in terms of the “Irish Mystique”.

        But what Notre Dame does offer is a game that’s usually highly anticipated, gets nationwide coverage and great ratings. Its also a unique relationship in terms of revenue–each school keeps its own gate receipts (which is a win for Michigan because UM Stadium is larger). And yes, the hatred does flare up from time-to-time. Schembechler did say “To hell with Notre Dame” when the Irish (under Holtz) started scheduling games prior to what was supposed to be the mutual season opener for both teams in the early 90s. And yes, Carr did say Notre Dame violated a “gentleman’s agreement” in 1999 when ND did the same thing (which is why Michigan will never again open the season with Notre Dame–or at least as long as Lloyd Carr’s alive).

        So there you have it–“The Arrogant Asses in Ann Arbor” vs. “The Poet Warriors (to borrow a NDNation term) in South Bend”. A relationship of varying respect and admiration, but one recognized for its commercial benefits to each school in the modern era.

        And so its goes. Whenever conference expansion happens, and regardless of the form it takes, the Michigan-Notre Dame football series/relationship will change. If ND becomes part of the B10, then the game goes from non-conference to conference status. If ND doesn’t become part of the B10, then the future of the series is in question.


      4. FLP_NDRox


        You’re better than that.

        The Big Ten’s problem is that while many teams want in, few are actually qualified to get in, fewer can actually contribute to the Big Ten, and fewer still match the profile.

        I assume you want examples of UM and the B10 screwing ND. Two things:

        a) The only reason we have proof on the Yost stuff is because everyone’s dead and the archives are open. If you want something recent, you’ll only find rumor and conjecture since all parties have at least some reason to keep any potential recent bad blood quiet.

        b) My point is merely that ND alumni distrust has at least some basis in historical facts that are independently verified. I’m not saying the B10 is screwing ND. I’m not even saying ND doesn’t trust the B10. Frankly I don’t know, don’t care, and I’m sure the people in charge do know the situation as it currently stands. I’m just sick of hearing that ND alums are paranoid because they doubt the B10 had ND’s best interest in the forefront of their minds.

        Y’know what, if thinking that the Big Ten isn’t better than ND makes me arrogant, I’m arrogant. I’m OK with that. If stating that the programming on BTN is serevely lacking and that ND is better off without the Big Ten makes me uncivil, then I’m uncivil.

        The Big Ten with their network is now working for a profit, even if it wasn’t before. Of course the Big Ten would love to have ND for the prestige and the eyeballs they bring to the screen. Obviously its for the Money. I doubt it’s for the Humanities programs.

        I would hope B10 fans would lose no sleep if ND doesn’t join. I’d sleep better knowing the Irish stayed independent, and I wish no ill to the Big Ten.

        I don’t believe you know a single ND alum that wants ND in the Big Ten. Maybe a person who when to grad school might, but I doubt it.


  37. Finebaum is an SEC blowhard that is always looking for something to toot the SEC horn about. Sure the AD might have wanted to go to the SEC, but the decision-makers clearly didn’t want to join.

    “The Longhorns next turned to the Big Ten.

    Having added Penn State in 1990, the Big Ten was now made of universities that, in the view of UT officials, matched UT’s profile — large state schools with strong academic reputations. Berdahl liked the fact that 10 conference members belonged to the American Association of Universities.

    Yet, distance remained a disadvantage. Iowa, the closest Big Ten school to Austin, was 856 miles away — but the appeal of having 10 of 12 schools in the same time zone was seen as a plus.

    But after adding Penn State in 1990, Big Ten officials had put a four-year moratorium on expansion. Although admitting interest, Big Ten bosses ultimately rejected UT’s overtures.

    That left the SEC as a possible relocation target for the Longhorns — until Berdahl let it be known that UT wasn’t interested because of the league’s undistinguished academic profile. Only two of 12 schools in the SEC were American Association of Universities members and UT officials saw admissions standards to SEC schools as too lenient.
    ‘We were quite interested in raising academic standards,’ Berdahl says. ‘And the Southeastern Conference had absolutely no interest in that.'”


  38. Something else to consider when talking about expanision is recruiting, specifically recruiting practices. Obviously, TV contracts, academic research, and all those other topics are the most important areas to focus on, but it can’t be ignored that whoever joins the Big 10 will be required to recruit in accordance with Big 10 conference rules, which go above and beyond NCAA rules in terms of regulating oversigning, etc.

    In this regard Texas is a perfect match for the Big 10, whereas just about any other Big 12 or SEC school is not.

    More details here…


    1. allthatyoucantleavebehind

      Good link. Interesting stuff. This dispels a mistruth I’ve had about Texas. I thought their recruiting success was due to being a football factory…I was wrong.

      How about African-American grad rates? Any stats on that. PSU is one of the highest in the country in that category (far higher than OSU :))…and we’re darn proud of Joe’s way of doing things.


  39. loki_the_bubba

    Disclaimer: Today my daughter decided that she will not attend tOSU in the fall. She will attend Notre Dame. Please read any comments I make here forward with this in mind.


        1. duffman


          muffett is a great coach..

          and some indiana girls on the team including diggins. xavier is going to be pretty awesome next season tho with their two girls from Indy. I wish the IU women would get it together.


    1. @loki_the_bubba – Congrats to your daughter! I know plenty of Domers and while I don’t necessarily agree with them all of the time, I will say that their bond with their school is truly unique. She’ll have a wonderful time there.


          1. loki_the_bubba

            I know there are Missionary Baptists and Primitive Baptists around here. And there are independents. Probably a few odd Northern Baptist congregations around the state also.


  40. Scott S

    FLP writes: “According to Scott S, ND is not allowed to be bitter that the Big Ten tried to kill ND football because it was a while ago. I can’t see how or why the B10 should be bitter over a couple or perhaps trio of nos.”

    First of all, “a while” means a short time. Like, “I’m going to the store and I’ll be back in a while.” The supposed boycott of Notre Dame by Big Ten teams began after a game in 1909. That’s now over 100 years. That’s four generations.

    Second, a little digging shows this claim about Big Ten teams trying to “kill” Notre Dame football by boycotting them doesn’t bear scrutiny. Looking at records from the 1910’s, when this supposed boycott began, I counted 13 games against Big Ten teams, including Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan State.

    From 1921-1930, I count 21 games between Notre Dame and Big Ten teams (Northwestern, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan State).

    From 1921-1930, Notre Dame played 25 Big Ten games by my count (against Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, and Minnesota).

    In the 1940’s, Notre Dame played 37 games against Big Ten opponents (including Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan.)
    None of these numbers includes Penn State, now a Big Ten member, which would boost all those numbers.

    So where is this big conspiracy by Big Ten schools? Who is it, exactly, that’s refusing to schedule you? The truth is, at one time or another, every single Big Ten team played Notre Dame in those years of supposed boycott.

    While I know the evidence doesn’t support the Notre Dame narrative of habitual victimization by the Big Ten, the evidence would suggest your issue isn’t with the Big Ten trying to boycott you. Your problem has been with Michigan not scheduling you. You’re just using this slight by Fielding Yost, whether perceived or real, as another in a line of fabricated justifications as to why you don’t want to join the Big Ten.

    So, was Fielding Yost prejudiced against Catholics? Is that why he wouldn’t play Notre Dame?

    Maybe. Who knows? None of us ever met him. He was born just six years after the Civil War. Can’t say prejudice was unheard of.

    However, consider the fact that Yost came on board at Michigan in 1900. He played Notre Dame in 1902. And 1908. And 1909. He also played Marquette in 1909. He doesn’t seem to have been overly prejudiced against Catholics then.

    He also played other schools that were ostensibly religious, both before and during his time in Michigan. So it’s not like he was anti-Christian. (Wikipedia even calls him a devout Christian.)

    Did he just not like losing? Was he simply a poor sport?

    Maybe. His team just lost to Notre Dame in 1909. Maybe that loss alone was why he didn’t schedule them for thirty whatever years.

    However, Yost kept playing Syracuse (1909, 1910, 1911, 1912 and beyond) after Michigan lost to them in 1908. And he played other schools to which Michigan lost. So being a poor sport doesn’t seem likely. You can’t simply cancel all games the first time someone beats you. You’d quickly run out of teams.

    Maybe it wasn’t Notre Dame’s religiosity or the loss. Maybe there is more to the story as to why he didn’t want to play Notre Dame. Maybe something happened behind the scenes we’ll never know about (because it was a frickin’ CENTURY AGO.) Or maybe he simply didn’t find the Notre Dame fans as charming as we do today.

    However, if Yost were, in fact, prejudiced, and you want to hang him in effigy for the next hundred years as you have for the last 100 years, that’s your decision. After all, what place does Christian forgiveness have at a school like Notre Dame?

    Just like I’m sure you’d be comfortable with black players remaining angry that Notre Dame and current domers for clear institutionalized prejudice shown them when your school wouldn’t allow them on your team just 50 years ago. That’s half the time since Yost’s alleged transgression against Notre Dame. Certainly you bear responsibility for that just like the Big Ten bears responsibility for Yost.

    But why do I think you’d feel that maybe with Notre Dame’s transgressions, it’s all in the past? That you, as Christians, should be forgiven for your transgressions, all the while Michigan and, what the heck, the entire Big Ten, should never be forgiven by Notre Dame, tarnished forever by the black stain on humanity that is Fielding Yost.