I was among a group of reporters who had a chance to visit with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany earlier Monday about the league’s addition of Maryland as a 13th member. Delany spoke from Washington and will attend the formal announcement in College Park, Md.
He declined to confirm the expected addition of Rutgers as a 14th member, saying only that “there may be other things” and it’s a day to celebrate Maryland. He joked that he’ll “be home by Thanksgiving.” The teams are expected to join the league in the 2014-15 season.
Brian Bennett will tackle the on-field impact in a few minutes, but let’s dive in to what commissioner had to say …
Why did the Big Ten expand?
The Big Ten explored 14- and 16-team models during its last expansion study but decided to add only Nebraska and monitor the landscape. Well, the landscape kept changing with more realignment. The Big Ten created a collaboration with the Pac-12 as an alternative to expansion, but when the Pac-12 decided this summer it couldn’t go through with it, Delany and the Big Ten presidents put expansion back on the front burner.
With so much realignment elsewhere, Delany said the league had to question its vulnerability.
“It’s pretty obvious to us that the paradigm has shifted,” Delany said. “It’s not your father’s Big Ten. It’s probably not your father’s ACC. The paradigm shift is that other conferences had [expanded], we had chosen not to, and we explored the collaboration [with the Pac-12]. It couldn’t be executed. The Pac-12 couldn’t do what they thought they could do. …
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