This Big Ten Expansion Thing Might Actually Happen, And Soon

It's like a fire bell in the night: The Big Ten might really become the Big 14 or Big 16, and it might happen before you think.

⇥⇥High-ranking Big Ten representatives will meet Sunday in Washington to discuss expansion. The timing and location of the session make sense considering the Association of American Universities has its semi-annual meetings there through Tuesday and all 11 Big Ten schools are AAU members.⇥⇥

⇥...⇥

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⇥⇥If the conference can emerge from the meetings with a mandate to expand, Commissioner Jim Delany could take a substantial step next week at the annual Bowl Championship Series meetings outside Phoenix.⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥As laid out in the Big Ten's Dec. 15 statement, Delany would "notify" the commissioners of the affected conferences before "engaging in formal expansion discussions with other institutions."⇥⇥

⇥⇥⇥

⇥⇥...⇥⇥

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⇥⇥That would allow the Big Ten more than a month to negotiate with schools before conference presidents and chancellors meet in Chicago during the first weekend in June.⇥⇥

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⇥⇥That timetable also makes sense from a financial standpoint. The fiscal years of universities end on the last day of June, "so if you go past July 1, you have to wait an extra year," one source said.⇥⇥

In five short months, we've gone from humorous scenarios and inexplicable targets to talks that seem to be accelerating because the Big Ten wants to do something now.

Matt Hinton reads the tea leaves to mean that expansion is more or less a foregone conclusion, and that era of the superconferences is about to dawn. I'm not sure what other conclusions there are to draw, except that many rough beasts may be about to be born.

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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