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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Expansion roundup: Quotes and links

By Adam Rittenberg

As you can image, the Big Ten's announcement about potential expansion created a ton of buzz from State College to Iowa City. Everyone's talking about possible 12th teams, the benefits and drawbacks for the league and what it all means.

Here's a sampling of what they're saying:

QUOTES/STATEMENTS

Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis: "With the changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics, now is a good time for the Big Ten to review its current structure and evaluate the potential for expansion. The Big Ten remains the nation's premier conference; however, it's always important to evaluate ways to make the conference even stronger. The addition of Penn State to the Big Ten in 1990 certainly proved to be a home run, so if the conference decides to expand, it is our hope that the move would bring similar prestige and success to the conference."

Michigan head football coach Rich Rodriguez: "I am in favor of the Big Ten exploring all options to make the league stronger, whether the decision is ultimately made to expand or not. We should be proactive in examining the college athletic landscape and I'm pleased that our conference is looking for ways to make the Big Ten better. I am behind the decision to expand if it fits with the ideals of our conference."

Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith: "When you look at the college landscape across the country and you look at the television contracts over the next five to eight years, this is probably the right time for us to see if there is any value in adding a team or teams."

Michigan athletics director Bill Martin: "I think we’d all be open-minded about it. And, again, I think it gets back to the right fit that does make sense."

Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke: "I think about every five years we're going to take a look, but it doesn't mean you're going to expand. It simply says things can change, and therefore we ought to be in a position of taking a look at what the various options are."

Indiana athletics director Fred Glass: "I think it would be overstating it to say that we’re looking for somebody to add. We're looking at whether we want to add somebody, and who those somebodies might be. I think it’s really important to underscore that we're fine where we are. There's no need for us to do this if it doesn’t add value to the conference and to the applicant that might want to join the conference."

Illinois athletics director Ron Guenther: "About every five years the Big Ten Conference explores the possibility of expansion. Any expansion of the conference would obviously have to be a good fit academically, geographically and financially. If the Big Ten does make a change, I hope it will be as successful as the addition of Penn State."

Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee: "We can't look in the rear-view mirror and say we love what we are. We need to say, 'What can we be?'"

Iowa athletics director Gary Barta: "We do have a great conference and in order to add somebody it's going to have to make sense. When we added Penn State, it worked out wonderfully. They fit our philosophy. They fit athletically, academically, geographically. If we ever find the perfect partner, then I think it's worth looking at. If we don't find the perfect partner, then I'm not interested in expanding."

LINKS