Sunday, June 6, 2010
Big Ten brass meets as Big 12 buzz swirls
By ESPN.com staff
After the Big Ten's spring meetings last month in Chicago, it became clear that the league wouldn't operate on anyone else's expansion timetable but its own.
Commissioner Jim Delany said no votes were imminent, and league sources said back then and again last week the process likely would go through the fall before a resolution.
Have the events of recent days changed things?
First, we saw the e-mails between Delany and Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee about "fast-tracking it" and "agility and swiftness of foot is our friend." And then Saturday night, the Austin American-Statesman reported that Big 12 presidents are giving Nebraska and Missouri a deadline of Friday to say whether they'll remain in the league or leave for the Big Ten.
"Nebraska has until 5 p.m. on Friday to tell us what they're going to do," one school official said, according to the American-Statesman. "The same deal for Missouri. They have to tell us they're not going to the Big Ten."
If they don't meet the deadline, at least six Big 12 schools, including Texas and Oklahoma, likely would bolt for the Pac-10, creating potential Armageddon in college sports.
Now the Big Ten hasn't extended any formal invitations to anyone and continues to work toward landing a major program, such as Texas or Notre Dame. Texas is obviously on the table for every league exploring expansion, and I'm told Notre Dame remains in the mix for the Big Ten and doesn't know what it wants to do.
While Nebraska and Missouri certainly are strong candidates, I've been told no formal meetings have taken place to discuss them. Are those schools confident enough they're part of the Big Ten's expansion plan? Will they demand an answer from Delany in the next week?
The Big Ten wants to take its time with this process, but Delany and his crew might need to pick up the pace. Then again, Delany isn't the type to cater to anyone else's ultimatums.
It will be very interesting to hear from the commissioner today at the meeting of Big Ten presidents and chancellors at league headquarters in Park Ridge, Ill. The agenda isn't public because the meetings are held in executive session, but you can bet expansion is the No. 1 topic being discussed. It just has to be.
Media aren't allowed in the building, but apparently Delany wasn't kidding when he mentioned all of us enjoying some beer and brats today. Yum.
Delany and Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon, the chair of the Big Ten's council of presidents/chancellors, will address reporters around 4 p.m. ET. My pal Teddy Greenstein has a good preview of the meetings.
I'm definitely planning to ask about the Big 12/Pac-10 buzz and how that affects the Big Ten's plans. Check back this afternoon, as I'll have a recap on the blog.