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Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

Jim Delany shoots down any Big Ten expansion ideas and more notes

By Nick Baumgardner

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Jim Delany doesn't want to hear it. He doesn't want to talk about it. And he couldn't care less if anyone cares about it.

The Big Ten Conference commissioner was adamant Thursday that the league has no, and wants no part of the current college conference expansion movement.

"Everyone else in the country is in the conversation, but we're not," Delany said Thursday during the Big Ten basketball media day at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare hotel. "And you can't make us be in the conversation if we're not in the conversation."

Delany and the Big Ten got the entire expansion wave rolling nearly two years ago by adding Nebraska from the Big 12.


Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany.

AP file photo

From there, things have been chaotic to say the least.

With the most recent movement threatening the livelihood of the Big East, a conference currently housing all of Notre Dame's non-football sports, speculation has risen on where the Fighting Irish may land.

It won't be the Big Ten, according to Delany on Thursday.

Delany went as far as saying he spoke with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick months ago — but that discussion was centered around hockey and scheduling.

He explained how 12 members is a number the league is happy with at moment, and adding any further would create an issue. "We want to play ourselves," he said.

He also refused to answer any hypothetical questions or what-ifs regarding Notre Dame, or anyone else, saying it's something he's never done and doesn't intend to start.

"You can't make me respond to hypotheticals," he said. "And if someone calls from a school in Puerto Rico, or California, or Alaska, I'm not answering those questions."

Delany also explained how expansion shouldn't be looked at as a quest to conquer the college landscape, but rather an idea to strengthen one's individual league in all facets.

BIG TEN MEDIA DAY sports reporter Nick Baumgardner attended the Big Ten basketball media day in Rosemont, Ill., on Thursday. Listed below is a compilation of his coverage.

"This is not Monopoly and this is not a game board where people are collecting markets and territories and schools," he said. "Our goal from the beginning has been to have competition for teams and student-athletes.

"It's not about how many schools or how many states or how many markets. … For us, it's always been about 'do you have the best set of competitive opportunities, do you have some people in agreement about how to approach college sports and a great deal of enthusiasm about being part of that process."

Never say never, but for now, read his lips.

No interest in expanding.

"What's happening out East or out West, or in the South, interests me as a college sports fan," he said. "But as a conference commissioner, not as much."

Delany offered his opinion on various other topics surround the college athletic landscape:

Will there ever be a BCS playoff?

"I don't know about ever, but I don't see that kind of thing in the near future."

How is preparation going for the first-ever Big Ten football championship game?

"We're making progress. ... I'm not in a lot of those meetings, but all the reports are that it's going really well. We sold 20,000 tickets in two hours. We've got our team tickets and we've got a few other tickets. But I think the demand is going to be great, I know that Fox has been promoting it heavily during the World Series as well as during the NFL schedule. It should be great."

If a school ever did approach you about expansion, would it have to be all sports or none?

"I would just say that membership in the Big Ten has an academic element, an athletic element and it's an all-sports conference. … Generally speaking, everybody's all-in. That's never been an issue for us."

On the recent proposal to add $2,000 of spending money to scholarship offers

"We ought to consider a scholarship that could go up to the cost of education. That often gets mischaracterized as pay-for-play, but I don't think scholarship is play for play. It's a merit or talent award and right now it's room, board, fees and tuition. It used to be room, board, fees, tuition and $15. Now they're considering room, board, fees, tuition and additional aid for the cost of education up to $2,000. I personally support it, but I don't give scholarships. … There are a couple (schools) that may see it as an issue because they think it's an expense that they can't bear. But most of them will support it and I think it will pass but I think it'll be an option, not a requirement."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


Lorain Steelmen

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

RudeJude. Some interesting points to consider. I agree, that ND would likely join the ACC, if looking for a conference. I think their rebuff of the Big Ten, may have created some sentiment within he conference to keep them out now. (As in, 'go chase yourself') I am NOT a big Delany fan, but I DO think the addition of Nebraska was a great move. (I'm a little cncerned about Nebraska's academic credentails, but..) I also think that stopping at 12 members is wise. My sense, going forward, is that any 'new members' would have to REPLACE an outgoing member. Say a Texas for an Indiana, or a ND, for a Minnesota. Having said that, neither Texas nor ND, are partcularly significant to me. Neither one is a 'team player', that is, they historically have been consumed by 'self' and 'money', at the expense of other institutions. The league just doesn't need that 'mentality'. I see the league's biggest problem is osu, (and, to a lesser extent msu), as institutions that operate 'on the edge', of NCAA guidelines, and sportsmanship. They run 'dirty' programs, which makes the entire league look bad. Delany & the league office, have been reluctant to address this, and have preferred to look the other way. I fear the league may regret this weakness, and soon.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

I've heard that at least a third of the current Big Ten Presidents would vote against ND joining (which four, I wonder?) It's funny, because the Notre Dame administration wanted Big Ten membership, but their fanbase was solidly against it. Notre Dame is a midwest school with an identity problem that would gladly uproot the entire campus for, say, coastal Maryland, if it were feasible. I just wish the Big Ten would drop it's crush on the Irish and stop playing them entirely. I doubt the Big Ten would drop any members with their rich history and as long as they stay AAU-approved, maintaining their value as research institution. The Big Ten is arguably as much about research-resource sharing as it is about athletics, with the athletics getting the spotlight, of course. Plus if they started kicking teams out, our stability would crumble, as the remaining schools would be wondering whether they were next on the chopping block.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

The Big Ten will NOT expand unless Notre Dame and/or Texas are the teams involved, and does the Big Ten and its fans really want these two self-serving schools? One school hates the idea of being in a conference (and would snub the Big Ten for the ACC, most likely, anyway), and the other's financially voracious actions have nearly destroyed what once was a great conference. I once was a proponent for further conference expansion, but I think if we push past 12 members, the quality of our football rivalries will diminish due to the fact that teams may only see some schools sporadically, maybe as little as four games a decade. Living in Austin, TX, I've paid great attention to the fall of the Big XII conference. Texas has CONTROLLED this conference since its inception, receiving the lion's share of profits and having hand-picked the conference commissioner. I believe Texas has bullied out teams for financial reasons as well as to garner futher control over an automatic-BCS conference it hopes to dominate. They've given up rivalries and pushed out two historic programs. Now, they are working on siphoning television profits from other member schools with their network, and have eliminated that pesky conference championship game. Now it's one less win to reach the BCS Championship Game. The winner of the Red River Rivalry will have the easiest road to the BCS. Notre Dame, on the other hand, will join the ACC if they must join a conference because it'll be less competitive. Since 2000, Notre Dame has gone 19-18 (.520) in the Big Ten, and 10-15 (.400) against non-Purdue Big Ten teams. They would be a mid-level program in the Big Ten at best. Notre Dame plays three ACC teams in the next three weeks. I think if they are successful, you'll see a further push for them to join the ACC once the Big East finally dies. Let's keep the Big Ten at 12 teams that share tradition and history, not to mention the revenue. Go Blue


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 9:57 a.m.

Just as Bo said..."To hell with Notre Dame".

Basic Bob

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 9:45 a.m.

If Notre Dame wanted to join the Big Ten, all they had to do was ask. They didn't. It does not benefit them or us. Nebraska is a great addition to the Big Ten. It's a good place to stop, regardless of what the SEC is doing.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 5:24 a.m.

To quote the great creator of the German State, Otto Van Bismark. "I never believe a thing until it has been denied". Delany is denying more expansion to cover the truth. Of course Bismark also said "if you really want to confuse the world, tell the truth". So either way I have no clue.


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:28 a.m.

"Jim Delany doesn't want to hear it. He doesn't want to talk about it. And he could care less if anyone cares about it." Based on the context, don't you mean he COULDN'T care less?

Nick Baumgardner

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

You are absolutely right, DBH. Thank you. Sorry, long day. Fixed.