This post isn't a knock on Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, but I needed to follow up on what Alvarez told Wisconsin's athletic board last week regarding the ongoing discussion about nine-game conference schedules in the Big Ten.
From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Alvarez said the topic isn't set to be discussed during the league meetings next month in Chicago and a nine-game schedule likely wouldn't be implemented until at least 2017.
"That's not on the docket," he said. "We won't do anything or be serious about that for several years."
Actually, after checking with the Big Ten, I've learned the nine-game discussion will continue May 17-18 at the league's spring meetings of coaches and athletic directors in Chicago. Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration Mark Rudner, who puts together the league schedules, will talk with the ADs about whether to implement a nine-game schedule or remain at eight.
Rudner told me in an email message that the athletic directors want to see a financial analysis of schedules with nine league games versus eight league games. The Big Ten staff will provide them with the breakdowns at the spring meetings.
The Big Ten schedules are only approved through the 2014 season, so if approved, a nine-game slate could be implemented as early as 2015. The big issue, as most of you know, is structuring things so most Big Ten teams still could have seven home games even when they play five conference games on the road.
Alvarez is among the ADs in favor of nine Big Ten games, noting last week that it could create the possibility for a second protected crossover game.
There could be a resolution on the nine-game issue at the meetings, so stay tuned.
Also, the Big Ten primetime schedule for 2011 could be announced by the end of next week. If not, we should know it the week of May 16.