More On Conference Expansion

Taking this all with a grain of salt (other sites have previously reported imminent movement)… (a University of Texas fan site) reports that:

  • Nebraska has received an offer from the Big Ten and may announce as soon as Friday that they are joining.  That seems somewhat at odds with the next point, which is:
  • Notre Dame has received assurances that Big Ten expansion will stop at 12 teams if Notre Dame joins the conference.
  • Notre Dame’s trustees are debating whether to join the conference or stay independent.  There is concern that the creation of 4 super conferences will jeopardize Notre Dame’s BCS bid.
  • The Big Ten will invite 1-3 teams from the Big East if Notre Dame doesn’t come on board, jeopardizing the Big East and Notre Dame’s ‘minor’ sports affiliation.
  • There is a timeline involved in the discussion between the Big Ten and Notre Dame.
  • The Big 12 teams have until June 14th to pledge their allegiance to the conference.  (Of course I’d like to understand exactly what that means – Boston College was engaged in a lawsuit against the ACC and the Big East teams that were originally invited by the ACC a few years back – only to turn around and leave the conference as soon as they received an invite)
  • The consensus is that the Big 12 will not survive if Nebraska leaves.  I’m not sure I understand why one team, even Nebraska, can’t be replaced.
  • Texas (and Texas A&M) are reported to want the Big 12 to stay together.

That last point is significant.  If the Big Ten adds Notre Dame, there appears to be no place for Nebraska or Missouri to go.  If Texas then stays in the Big 12, how does the Pac-10 expand?

Again, it all seems to depend on Notre Dame.  My sense is that if Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, any other moves will be minor.  If Notre Dame decides to stay independent, the Big 12 and/or the Big East are in trouble.  However, I think the Fighting Irish will be shooting themselves in the foot by staying independent.  My sense is that they are not going to be happy with the results of the realignment.  The issue is, are they smart enough and flexible enough to join the Big Ten?

Finally, the site claims that sources have told them that Congress will oppose attempts by conferences to move towards the 4 “super conferences” of 16 teams each.  The threat is that Congress will vote to take away the tax-exempt status of athletic departments.

Now I have to say that I hate the idea of having 4 “super conferences” – there is nothing about that concept that I like.  But doesn’t Congress have more relevant issues to focus on than the NCAA (or, for that matter, steroid use in Major League Baseball)?

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