Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon: Expansion 'not a game of checkers'
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said he sees the potential for major changes to the college sports landscape when expansion shakes out - whenever that is.
"I think there’s the potential for there to be a sea change in terms of the composition of the major conferences in the country," Brandon said Friday during an appearance on WTKA 1050-AM. "There’s a possibility. Now whether it happens or not, who knows? When it happens or not, who knows?
"And it’s one of those things where if two or three schools break in a certain direction it almost might force other two or three schools to break in another direction and the ripple effect could be really substantial."
The Big Ten announced in December it was exploring expansion, and scenarios have run rampant in the months since with different schools interesting in joining the conference.
Last week, a Kansas City radio station reported the Big Ten invited Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame to join the conference. Missouri and Nebraska denied offers had been made, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly emailed conference athletic directors to say there was no truth to the report.
Brandon called expansion "a very complex matter" that goes beyond football.
"The financial consequences of this are unbelievable," he said. "Listen, conferences have contractual obligations. In some cases it’s expensive to leave a conference. It may be expensive to buy into a new conference. There’s so many considerations. This is not just a game of checkers, this is multi-, multi-billion dollar, very complex issue that involves the presidents of the universities, the conference commissioner, certainly the athletic directors.
“It’s interesting to be a part of it. It’s a work in progress. It could end up being nothing, but it’s like going to end up being something."
Other topics Brandon and Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez addressed in their hour on the air:
â€¢ On Brandon's role in recruiting, esaid: "I love it. When I was here as a student-athlete, the coaches used me a lot. I love the place and I think I'm a pretty good sales guy, particularly when the product is great. And the product here is great. ... When I'm called upon, if I can convince student-athletes and/or their parents why this is a great place to come and be a part of this tradition, by God I'm going to do it."
â€¢ Rodriguez on whether Brandon will be at Michigan's end-of-spring recruiting barbecue next Saturday: "Oh sure. Dave has done, anything we've asked he's done right there front and center."
â€¢ Rodriguez, in light of the Morgan Trent situation, how he helps promote his players: "Their interaction with the college guys is really not as much as people think. We have a pro day and I sit up there and talk about all our seniors and put them in the best light we can from a positive standpoint, and once in a while they may call an assistant coach if they know the assistant coach from different travels. But they usually do their background before they even come to pro day so they don't have a whole lot of questions. If your guy's going to be a first-rounder, for instance this year I had a few calls on Brandon Graham, but not one of them was from a coach, it was from somebody working in their organization that wanted to check just on character. The Philadelphia Eagles, I knew they were pretty interested in (Graham) because they called twice, and it was somebody in their organization who just wanted to know what kind of guy he is. And it worked out pretty well for him, and I think he's going to have a long, illustrious career with the Eagles."
The Eagles drafted Graham in the first round last month.
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.