Big Ten Has No Current Plans To Expand

Still think we are all headed towards conference realignment Armageddon and four, 16-team superconferences? Well if you are waiting for Texas A&M-to-SEC to set off a seismic shift in the college football landscape that includes the Big Ten ballooning to 14 or 16 teams, you may be waiting for quite a while. 

Today, the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) issued a statement stating that the conference is "not actively engaged in conference expansion at this time, or at any time in the foreseeable future, barring a significant shift in the current intercollegiate athletic landscape."

Full press release is go.

"The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors (COP/C) met recently to discuss reform issues and expansion. The following statement is issued by the Big Ten office on behalf of the COP/C.

In response to a number of recent media inquiries received by several Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors regarding the likelihood of further expansion by the Big Ten, the COP/C would like to reiterate that it will not be actively engaged in conference expansion at this time, or at any time in the foreseeable future, barring a significant shift in the current intercollegiate athletic landscape.

The COP/C is aware that speculation about the possibility of expansion by the Big Ten Conference continues despite a statement from COP/C Chair and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie on December 5, 2010, indicating that the COP/C believed the expansion process had reached its natural conclusion, that it was pleased with the addition of Nebraska, and that it looked forward to working with its new colleagues in the years ahead.

The conference has spent the past 14 months actively engaged in incorporating Nebraska, academically and athletically, into the fabric of the conference. "We're about as comfortable as we can be with where we are," said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. "We've said that we will continue to monitor the landscape, but we have closed down active expansion and have no plans to seek new members."

It remains unclear what a significant shift in the current intercollegiate athletic may entail. But if I had to wager a guess, a program that has gone just .500 in the last three seasons probably isn't going to trigger said shift. If Texas A&M is truly hell-bent on divorcing Texas and the rest of the Big 12, I think the SEC stops at 14 and poaches either a second Big 12 team (Missouri) or picks off a program from the Big East (West VirginiaLouisville?). Texas finds 1-2 more hapless victims to join the Big 12 and all is right with the world.

Regardless, barring a full-fledged three program SEC raid of the ACC (Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech) and/or Swofford kicking Miami to the curb, I think the ACC will look very similar to what it does today in five years time. I say this full well knowing that things could easily change tomorrow.

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