Realignment rumblings afoot in Chicago

May, 18, 2010
5/18/10
10:33
AM ET
If you weren't aware, the Big Ten athletic directors and coaches are meeting this week in Chicago for their annual spring meetings, and though expansion is not explicitly on the itinerary, everyone arrived ready to talk about the hot-button issue heading into the summer and next season.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is expected to address the media sometime this morning, but several coaches and athletic directors answered questions upon arrival on Monday, and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon delivered the Apocalypse quote you're likely to find in any publication with a pulse this morning.

"There's a general feeling," Brandon foretold before the Earth shook, "that change is in the wind."

But he offset those comments with a warning that the media (and everyone's, really) speculation surrounding a shifting landscape might be overblown.

"Obviously, the prospects for change are out there, or there wouldn't be as much time spent. There's clearly energy around change, but that doesn't mean it's going to manifest itself in an outcome that's either immediate or as significant as what's been rumored."

Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez stressed that any expansion would be a decision for university presidents, not athletic directors, but the Big 12 has had plenty of both comment in the past week.

Oklahoma president David Boren said last week he expects the Big 12 to stay together, and as you'll remember yesterday, Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds' bags are far from packed.

Aside from issuing denials (or, perhaps more accurately, non-denial denials), representatives from Missouri and Nebraska have been quiet publicly on the issue. Missouri's governor? Not so much, but he's not affiliated with the school.

We'll see what comes out of today's meetings, and though it's doubtful anything definitive emerges, colleague Adam Rittenberg is on the scene in Chicago with updates.

The Big 12's spring meetings are June 1-4, and I'll be there for the sure-to-be-awkward affair, which could feature some form of an ultimatum to teams like Nebraska and Missouri in response to their supposed wandering eyes.

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