Big Ten no longer rushing expansion?

April, 21, 2010
4/21/10
11:23
AM ET
Conference expansion is often discussed under the guise of college football. That's where the money is. If the Big Ten expands, it will be doing so with a keen eye for where it can maximize football revenues. But as the Big Ten deliberates expanding, college basketball fans have a lot at stake, too, especially if the Big Ten adds five member schools and becomes the country's second "super conference."

The domino effect that would surely ensue -- with the Pac-10, Big 12, ACC and SEC each attempting to follow the Big Ten/Big East blueprints -- would transform the major and mid-major system in college basketball. So, yeah, if you're a college basketball fan, don't ignore expansion. It could change the way you watch your sport in the years to come.

Of course, expansion actually has to happen for any of this to matter. Whether -- and how -- it does will have a lot to do with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney's meetings with BCS power brokers in Scottsdale, Ariz. Wednesday. Delaney is planning to address the media during Wednesday's meetings, and expansion will be the hottest, and maybe only, topic.

There is one other bit of news here: The Big Ten may or may not be reverting to its original 12-18 month timeline to add teams. Monday, the conference seemed intent on speeding up that process, an aggressive stance which has the benefit of giving the Big Ten first run at possible expansion candidates. Today, however, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Delaney told colleagues the conference isn't eschewing its 12-18 month timeline and will proceed as expected.

In other words, no one knows exactly how fast the Big Ten would expand or which teams expansion wold include. Or whether the conference will expand to 12 or 14 or 15 or 16 teams. (Or maybe 64? Then the Big Ten could have its own NCAA tournament! Sweet!) The first answers to any of these questions are most likely to emerge from Delaney's media availability today. Follow along with Adam Rittenberg and Ted Miller on the football side for more details there.

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