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Is expansion a dead issue in the Big Ten Conference?

[ 0 ] May 15, 2013 |

CHICAGO – Jim Delany appears to be tapping the brakes on conference realignment.

Delany, the Big Ten commissioner, kick-started an era of upheaval by inviting Nebraska to join his conference three years ago.

Wednesday, he was asked if the period of expansion was dead.

“Dead is a strong word,” Delany said, “but I know where we have spent our time since the announcement of Rutgers and Maryland.

“I told you guys we were inactive, and that all of our time was being spent on integration and consolidation.”

Delany was speaking to reports during the Big Ten’s annual spring meetings, six months after the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins became his league’s newest members.

There were once rumors of North Carolina, Virginia or Georgia Tech receiving an invitation, but those faded when the Atlantic Coast Conference reached a grant of rights agreement.

So, will things finally settle down?

“As we continue to survey the landscape,” Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said, “we’ll continue to advise our commissioner.”

Delany, meanwhile, is focused on finding an East Coast niche.

“I can’t speak for others, I shouldn’t speak for others,” Delany said. “But for us, we’ve been focused on making a home in a new region.”

The addition of Rutgers and Maryland brings the Big Ten Network to 15 million potential households.

“It is the richest corridor in the world, from the stand point of financial institutions, political institutions, media institutions,” Delany said. “And we’re new to it.

“If we can build relationships, make friends and be impactful and relevant over time, that’s the goal.”

Once that’s accomplished, expansion may be brought back to life.

“You read a lot about this,” Delany said. “Some people say they’re tired of writing about it, but they keep asking questions about it. So I really don’t know which it is.

“From my perspective, we’re inactive and we’re focused on bringing new members into the fold.”


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Category: Big Ten

About Andrew Logue: Andrew has been with the Des Moines Register for 19 years, covering everything from preps to Hawkeye and Cyclone sports, as well as the Drake Relays. View author profile.

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