Delany: Schools with Big Ten interest ‘didn’t inquire to make an announcement’

May 15, 2009
Jim Delany, Big Ten Commissioner

Jim Delany, Big Ten Commissioner

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said he’s had schools inquire about possibly joining the Big Ten Conference, only he won’t say which ones.

“I wouldn’t comment on that,” Delany said about which schools might have approached him interested in expansion. “If they do, they do. If they don’t, they don’t. But certainly they didn’t inquire to make an announcement.”

The Big Ten expanded to 11 schools in 1990 when Penn State joined the league. Notre Dame rejected an offer to join the Big Ten in 1999.

Speculation has swirled for years concerning the Big Ten and potential expansion. The schools mentioned the most often as possible candidates include Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Rutgers and Missouri. Expansion would allow the league to become eligible for an annual football championship game, which often nets millions of dollars for conferences and their schools.

Recently, two Big Ten football coaches have spoken favorably about league expansion. Penn State Coach Joe Paterno wants the league to expand because “we go into hiding for six weeks.”

“Everybody else is playing playoffs on television,” Paterno told ESPN.com. “You never see a Big Ten team mentioned. So I think that’s a handicap.

“I’ve tried to talk to the Big Ten people about, ‘Let’s get a 12th team — Syracuse, Rutgers, Pitt — we could have a little bit of a playoff.'”

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, a former Iowa captain, also welcomed the idea of league expansion.

“It’d be great,” Bielema told ESPN.com. “Everybody would welcome a 12th team in the league and maybe having a championship game.”

As for Delany, he said the league does discuss expansion and it’s a likely topic next week during the league’s football coaches and athletics directors meetings. But it’s unlikely the league will expand anytime soon.

“It’s a back-burner issue for a long time, but it’s not to say that it doesn’t get discussed,” Delany said. “It’s just a back-burner discussion, because I don’t know how else to say it other than periodically.

“We’ve  spoken with two institutions, in one case Penn State, and it resulted in an expansion; another with Notre Dame and it did not result in an expansion. We haven’t felt the need to move it off the back-burner since that time (1999), although it gets discussed — the pros and cons internally — from time to time.”


Live blog on Tuesday with Big Ten football coaches

April 13, 2009
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, left, reaches over to shake hands with Penn State Coach Joe Paterno on Aug. 1, 2006, at the Big Ten Conference football media day in Chicago. Paterno, 81, has won two national titles at Penn State. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, left, reaches over to shake hands with Penn State Coach Joe Paterno on Aug. 1, 2006, at the Big Ten Conference football media day in Chicago. Paterno, 81, has won two national titles at Penn State. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, I will live blog the Big Ten football coaches’ spring teleconference. All 11 coaches will talk about their teams in 20-minute increments.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz will speak at 11:40 a.m.

Here’s the full schedule: 11 a.m. Jim Tressel, Ohio State; 11:10 a.m. Rich Rodriguez, Michigan; 11:20 a.m. Bill Lynch, Indiana; 11:30 a.m. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State; 11:40 a.m.; Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; 11:50 a.m.; Bret Bielema, Wisconsin; Noon; Ron Zook, Illinois; 12:10 p.m. Danny Hope, Purdue; 12:20 p.m. Joe Paterno, Penn State; 12:30 p.m. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern; 12:40 p.m. Tim Brewster, Minnesota.

If you have any questions for the coaches, ship them my way. Here’s the link:

http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090414/SPORTS/904139974/1001/NEWS


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