Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

Big Ten could add Maryland, Rutgers, reports say

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            Some big noise about the Big Ten came out of the East on Saturday. Multiple sources, including and, reported that Maryland is in serious discussions regarding joining the conference of Legends and Leaders.

            Rutgers also could join the Big Ten as a 14th member, said, adding that an announcement could come as early as Monday.

            Efforts to confirm the reports through numerous Big Ten sources were unsuccessful. That in itself might be a clue: With no one willing knock down the expansion news, that could mean there's substance to it.

            It makes sense from the standpoint that the Next Big Thing in college sports--a handful of ``super conferences''--is getting nearer and nearer.

            This looks like a response to Notre Dame's decision to align with the ACC. Adding Maryland and Rutgers would give the Big Ten a serious television profile in the New York and Washington markets.

            And as the Pac-12's recent television machinations show--a reported 12-year, $3 billion TV contract with ESPN and Fox--the sky's the limit for the Big Ten, which has a bigger upside than the West Coast league.

            In a measure of how big the stakes are, Maryland, which recently dropped seven sports because of budget problems, is said to be interested in joining the Big Ten even though it would be required to pay a $50 million exit fee to the ACC.

            Sources told that Maryland president Wallace Loh has been handling the negotiations and Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson has briefed key staffers on the situation.

         As boggling as it may seem, the addition of Maryland and Rutgers might only be a stepping stone to a 16-school conference. Speculation has grown that the college-sports landscape will evolve into four 16-team super leagues in the future.

         It's possible the future is nearer than people thought.


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Good Day,

I find adding either one of these programs to the most tradition rich conference to be puzzling. Ok, let me cut to the chase..its stupid! The biggest issue in recent years that the Big Ten has had is its fall from the perch of being consistently one of the two top football conferences in the country. Football being the main revenue sport along with basketball, it would make sense to bolster the league by adding schools that are good in both sports.

Why would you add a program like Maryland that obviously has a financial crisis and dropped certain sports because of it. Thus, meaning their revenue sports aren't bringing in enough money. Aside from the fact that Rutgers and Maryland's football programs are mediocre at best in lower tier BCS football conferences. Only Maryland has a potential quality revenue making program in Mens basketball. So, in reality those school have nothing to really offer the conference but the conference offers them more than their current financial gains.

Now, lets examine what makes sense, which is social and Geographical culture. Neither one of the aforementioned school fit the Big Ten's Midwest culture (even though Penn State is further is still in Central Pennsylvania that is very Midwestern). If the conference wanted the New York market they should have maid heavy play for Syracuse (whose men basketball program would have added value) which shares Big Ten geographical culture being near to one of the Great Lakes. Here are the Teams with links to quality TV markets the Big Ten should make a play for:

*Oklahoma and Oklahoma state- Gives you a Geographic fit culturally, would bring back the Nebraska vs. Oklahoma rivalry. Plus providing the Oklahoma City and Tulsa TV markets.

*Kansas and Kansas State- Again a cultural geographic fit, Kansas and K State mens hoops along with K State football would be great additions. That would include Kansas Ctiy and Witchita Market.

*Virginia Tech- one of the most consistently high ranked football teams over the last 15 years. Its in the middle of Nowhere like Penn State. Although, the state of Virginia was the eventual capitol for the confederacy. Virginia Tech is located in a part of the state (closer to Appalachia) aka Mountain country that had a heavy amount of Union you wouldn't get any big ten backlash.

The Big Ten should go ahead and make the 16 team conference by pursuing:
Kansas (Birthplace of Basketball), Oklahoma, Missouri (St. Louis Market), Va Tech (DC Market), Syracuse, Iowa State and either Rutgers (Birthplace of Football) or Maryland.

But preferably/realistically adding:
Kansas, Va Tech, Rutgers (just for tradition of fball birthplace), Iowa State.

Truthfully, if it is about revenue and TV markets, remember most people are casual fans. Which means they only watch/follow teams who are regionally/culturally identifiable and are winning. This intern drives merchandise sales and other revenue growing avenues. So, to ensure a return on a Big Ten it only make sense to follow this model.

And it is why I am skeptical of adding Rutgers, because New York is a pro sports town. And when it comes to college sports they prefer hoops, specifically St. Johns hoops. So, in essence I really don't see gaining a quality share of the NYC TV market revenue. Not to beat a dead horse but Maryland with its financial issues is definitely not the right school add. I.E. if added count it as a win Rutgers and Maryland, lost for the Big Ten.

Lastly, here is my choice for how the conference alignment should be for (Big Ten, ACC, SEC, BIG 12, Big East, Pac 12 and Mountain West:
Big Ten-
*Legends Division
Northwestern, Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Purdue and Nebraska, Kentucky

*Leaders Division
Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Syracuse or Va Tech

*Coastal Division
Boston College, U Conn, Miami, Syracuse (or Va Tech in Atlantic which would put UNC in Coastal), Maryland, Rutgers, Wake Forest, University of Florida

*Atlantic Division
West Virgina, Clemson, Duke, UNC, Tennessee, NC State, Ga Tech, Pitt

*West Division
Texas A&M, LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Alabama, SMU, Memphis, USF

*Eastern Division
FSU, Aurburn, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Vandy, East Carolina, UCF

Big 12-
*North Division
Kansas State, Oklahoma, Colorado, Colorado State, Texas Tech

*South Division
Baylor, University of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma State, UTEP

Big East aka Misfit East
*North Division
Cincinnati, Louisville, Marshall, Temple, Middle Tennessee State, Ohio and Northern Illinois and elevate Villanova's football team from D1 AA or Western Kentucky.

*South Division
Tulsa, La Tech, Southern Miss, UNC Charlotte (they are starting a football team), University of South Alabama (Just Started a football Team), North Texas and Troy

Pac 12-
Only Change
*Add Boise State (North) and UNLV (South)

Lastly, Mountain West-
*West Division
Fresno State, Wyoming, Hawaii, San Diego State, Nevada, Utah State and U of New Mexico

*East Division
Notre Dame, BYU, Air Force, Navy, Army, Rice, New Mexico State welcomed!

Is it possible that the Big Ten administration is even more stupid than we thought? (Rhetorical question.)

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This page contains a single entry by Herb Gould published on November 17, 2012 11:17 PM.

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