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Barta thought Big Ten expansion was over

[ 0 ] November 19, 2012 |

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta did not even try to predict Monday where Big Ten Conference expansion will stop.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” he said. “I said several times when Nebraska was added and (when) we went to 12 — did I think 12 was the final number?”

Barta guessed yes in 2011 when Nebraska joined the Big Ten, but that changed Monday with the addition of Maryland. Rutgers is expected to follow with an announcement that it, too, will join the Big Ten.

That would mean the Big Ten would have 14 schools when competition starts in the fall of 2014.

“It’s a good thing I didn’t predict,” Barta said.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on a teleconference that football will continue with a two-division setup. He said league officials will meet over the next three to five months to determine which schools to put in which divisions.

“If it’s not No.1, then it’s maybe No.2 on the athletic directors’ to-do list,” Delany said. “I have tremendous confidence in them … to get in a room, close the door and solve it.”

By the time this round of conference expansion finishes, it also could mean more conference games.

Delany said football could expand from eight conference games to nine, and basketball to at least 20 — from 18 currently for the men, and 16 for the women.

“Coaches generally like fewer games,” Delany said. “Commissioners like more games. There’s probably a compromise in the middle. I hope we play more games. I like more, not less.

“When we’re playing each other more, it’s healthy and good. When we play each other less, it’s not as good.”

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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