Conference Expansion Stampede May Have Begun

If there was ever any doubt that football reigns supreme in college sports, it should be crystal clear by now. Football is the only thing driving conference expansion decisions.

Unless some emphatic denials are issued soon, one can assume the conference dominoes have begun to fall. The lynch pin appears to have been an informal decision by the Nebraska board of regents to accept an invitation to the Big Ten Conference.

At least six Big 12 schools have been invited to join the PAC 10. This leads many to conclude that the Big 12 Conference is done. But Texas and Texas A&M are convening a meeting Friday to attempt to salvage things.

Then there are unconfirmed reports that Notre Dame, Maryland, Rutgers and possibly Syracuse have been invited to join the Big 10.

There goes Big East football if true. Should the Big East football schools immediately withdraw from the conference? If so, the best basketball conference in the country becomes history almost over night.

Rutgers can thank itself for all the TV sets in the region. Maybe watching a lot of TV has some positive educational benefits after all. But that’s probably sour grapes. Rutgers in the Big 10. Really?

If Maryland is gone from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Pittsburgh is the first choice to replace the Terps. Never mind Pittsburgh’s long-standing rivalry with West Virginia or the fact that they have little in common with other ACC schools.

Some have suggested a merger between the Big 12 and the Big East football schools. Stranger things have happened and they probably will.

Many universities, including the University of Louisville, have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in facilities and Title IX to secure their future only to be faced with uncertainty. Don’t count on any members of Congress coming to the rescue. They’re too busy trying to save their own butts.

Conference expansion is about to wreak havoc on the college sports scene, and it could get ugly quickly. Many schools are going to be forced into some hasty, very bad decisions without any ability to redress their grievances.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “Conference Expansion Stampede May Have Begun

  • June 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm
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    Of course, neither Syracuse or Rutgers has been really relevant in football in recent history.

    The Big East can add Kansas, Kansas State, maybe memphis or Iowa State, and be just fine. Just have to keep 6 teams in the League steady. We’ll be okay. Its the big 12 thats imploding, not the big east.

  • June 9, 2010 at 9:15 pm
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    Maryland is a southern school. Joining the Big 10 makes about as much sense as Boston College in the ACC (which happened for some reason.) Maryland has rivalries with UVA, NC State, Duke, UNC and FSU. Nothing is more boring than watching Maryland stomp Indiana in football or Maryland stomp Pa State in basketball. Stay in the ACC Maryland.

  • June 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm
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    Or Maryland getting stomped in football by nearly every Big Ten school. I’m not so sure the Terps can beat IU on the gridiron.

    Maryland should have their moments in hoops, but the Big Ten is still a pretty good basketball league.

  • June 9, 2010 at 10:59 pm
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    Whats going to happen is the BIG1O will do their grab and the SEC will grab some ACC schools and go to sixteen themselves. The leftovers of the ACC, BIG EAST and the BIG 12 will form a conference call the BIG ACC EAST 12

  • June 10, 2010 at 6:40 am
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    Money, money, money, money. It is the bottom line in all of this mad scrambling for changing or keeping conference alignments. UofL has state of the art facilities in football, basketball, baseball, softball, swimming, track and field and field hockey.

    If the Big East loses a few and someone else comes calling…we should go. As ridiculous as it sounds for Rutgers to be in the Big 10…imagine how crazy it would sound to hear Louisville’s name in the SEC roster…

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