Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Report: Right teams, more money
ESPN.com news services
Advocates of Big Ten expansion now have a report to back them up.
An analysis prepared by a Chicago-based firm looked at whether the addition of five schools would generate enough revenue to make expansion worthwhile, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The point was: We can all get richer if we bring in the right team or teams," a source told the Tribune.
According to the newspaper report, the source said the five schools evaluated by the firm William Blair & Company were Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Missouri, Syracuse and Rutgers, though others also could be considered.
The singular issue is money, and whether the conference's current membership would be able to earn more than the $21 million to $22 million it earns per school each year.
At the same time, the current Big Ten schools want to make sure they don't lose money if the conference expands.
"You just don't jump into the league and get a full share of what everyone else in this league has established over time," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told The Associated Press. "I think someone has to buy their way into the league."
The Tribune reported that according to sources, a Big East school joining the Big Ten would have to pay $5 million as a "loyalty clause" fee.
Penn State football coach Joe Paterno has been a vocal supporter of expanding to 12 teams. And Alvarez sees expansion as a path toward the kind of football title game that keeps the SEC and other conferences on national TV and fans' radar after Thanksgiving, when the Big Ten typically begins a multiweek break before the bowls.
"You take a look at the championship week in December and we're non-players," said Alvarez, the former coach who led Wisconsin to football prominence. "We're irrelevant."
Alvarez and Ohio State president Gordon Gee both declined to answer questions from the Tribune.
Commissioner Jim Delany, who added Penn State to the conference since taking over as head of the Big Ten in 1989, responded to the Tribune's questions on expansion by saying: "This is not a quiet phase; this is a silent phase."
But among those not likely to join Penn State's efforts is Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who told the Tribune in December that the Fighting Irish valued their independence, and that "our strong preference is to remain the way we are."
Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the AP this week that Texas hasn't been approached by the Big Ten -- in spite of media reports to the contrary -- and is happy in the Big 12.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.