Jim Delany: Big Ten football schedule could move to 9 games, hoops slate could expand to 20
Jim Delany has expanded the Big Ten once again, and with that, conference schedules for football and basketball could begin to increase as well.
After announcing the addition of Maryland to the league Monday, Big Ten commissioner said during a national teleconference that the league's conference football schedule could increase to nine games, and the league's basketball slate could jump up to as many as 20 contests for each team.
"I think more games is on the table," Delany said. "One of the reasons we stayed at 11 (members) and stayed at 12 is because we love to play each other more, not less."
Maryland will join the Big Ten in 2014, and according to an ESPN.com report, Rutgers is expected to follow Tuesday with an announcement that it will become the league's 14th member.
The Big Ten currently features an eight-game conference football schedule, allowing members the opportunity to schedule four non-conference games during the early portion of the season.
The league has discussed the idea of increasing its football schedule, but most of that seemed to fade away when the conference announced a short-lived scheduling collaboration with the Pac-12.
That pact is now dead, and it appears to move to increase the conference's football schedule is back on the rise.
"We have a great conference made up of not only great institutions, but integrated rivalries in integrated markets," Delany said. "We're going into new markets that are not integrated. We're going to build integrated rivalries, we're going to create experiences and we're going to collaborate academically.
"But to do that, it may require more games. Our fans want to see these games. Maryland fans may not be used to Northwestern, they may not be used to Iowa, or Ohio State or Michigan, but I think when we bring those schools (to Maryland) and let (Maryland's) fan base and alumni get exposed to (the Big Ten), I think (it's going to be positive)."
ESPN.com reported Monday that both Maryland and Rutgers are expected to join the Leaders Division, and Illinois will then join Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Nebraska and Iowa in the Legends Division.
As far as basketball scheduling goes, the league currently operates on an 18-game schedule, but Delany said the conference's recent expansion could see as many as 20 games, maybe more.
He admitted that, as a rule, coaches prefer to play fewer conference games, while commissioners always want more.
At some point, he says, there will be a compromise.
"I think there's probably a compromise in the middle," Delany said. "I hope we play more games. But I have a lot to do with the bowl scheduling and nothing to do with the non-conference scheduling.
"We'll figure it out. I like more, not less. I know coaches feel like it's a very challenging league, but I just believe when we play each other more it's healthy and good, when we play each other less, it's not as good."