Monday, May 17, 2010
Big Ten coaches, ADs turn to Delany for answers
By ESPN.com staff
CHICAGO -- When it comes to potential conference expansion, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany seems to have all the answers.
The league's head football coaches don't, although they're anxious to find out.
"The commissioner always does a great job of letting us know what we need to know," Indiana head coach Bill Lynch said. "There's certain things we don't need to know."
Right now, Lynch and his coaching colleagues don't know much. The same goes for the league's athletic directors.
"I’m not only curious, I’m intensely interested," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said. "There’s a lot of rumors out there. Based on what I’ve been told, they’re just that, rumors. It’s a process that has taken place for quite some time. It has become public more recently, and it will be great to get an update on where we stand in the process.
"That’s what I hope to accomplish."
Expansion is not part of the official agenda this week at the Big Ten spring meetings, but Delany is expected to provide updates about the league's expansion study, which just entered month No. 5. The Big Ten laid out a 12- to 18-month timetable for the study back in December and remains committed to it, despite speculation that action could be taken sooner.
"At the end of the day, I don’t think anybody can be real certain how this is all going to shake out," Brandon said. "And there’s always a possibility that nothing will happen. The one thing I learned in my business career, a deal is never a deal until it’s over, and this deal is far from being over.”
Delany will address the media Tuesday morning.
For years, expansion seemed to be brought up with the goal to add a 12th team and a conference championship game like the Big 12, SEC and ACC. But the Big Ten's expansion study has taken on a different tone, especially after the success of the Big Ten Network.
"I'm sure it comes down to finances," Illinois head coach Ron Zook said. "Who's going to bring money into the league? Commissioner Delany has got himself a little gold mine [the Big Ten Network]. Even though everyone thought it was going to be great, I think it's maybe a little bit better.
"Now, all of a sudden, the Big Ten is the talk of college football with expansion. It's kind of neat to be able to sit back and watch."
The coaches and athletic directors plan to sit back, watch and learn about the expansion process this week. But they are well aware that the ultimate decision is not in their hands.
"This is a presidents’ decision," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said. "This is not an athletic directors’ decision."
Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet June 6 at the league's headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill.
"With the success of the Big Ten Network and the position we're in, I'm sure the powers that be will only add universities that bring value," Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Any time you add value to a league, everybody will be better off."