After a frenzied, rumor-filled weekend that the Big 11 was going to speed up its expansion plans, the brakes have been tapped.
Day one of the Bowl Championship Series meetings concluded Tuesday with no formal discussion about expansion.
“Informally,” Beebe said with a chuckle, “there has been plenty.”
Delany has informed colleagues that, contrary to a Tribune report, the timetable for Big Ten expansion has not been accelerated from the period of 12-to-18 months that was announced in December.
“You know, Jim wouldn’t be one of the top commissioners and one of the top sports people in the country if he didn’t take things into very careful consideration,” Beebe said.
Delany said through a spokesman that he would address the media Wednesday. His comments will be scrutinized and analyzed by commissioners such as Beebe and John Marinatto of the Big East.
This could be yet another smokescreen. Take some of the attention that is suddenly all over expansion away for a while so Delany can do more work with a little less glare.
Or it could be that while meeting with the Big 11 presidents over the weekend, Delany found insufficient consensus over the candidates at this point. All sorts of speculation can be found at this point.
Now the speculation for why the Big 11 might want to accelerate discussions centered on — of course — TV money.
The Big Ten wants to give other conferences time to respond. But more to the point, it could take a while to integrate schools such as Rutgers, Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Connecticut.
The Big East “loyalty clause,” created after the ACC raid, calls for departing schools to pay $5 million and, more significantly, give a 27-month notice.
So barring a renegotiation, the parties would have to move quickly to get the jumbo Big Ten in place for the 2012-13 academic/athletic season.
For the record, the Big 12 has similar penalties and notice requirements.
The Big 11′s TV deal with ESPN/ABC comes up for renewal around that time, so the theory was that the Big 11 would want the teams in place to negotiate a new contract. The reason this is kind of silly, is that it has little to do with the TV contract. If it is already known that the expansion will happen and who will come, the contract negotiations won’t be effected by whether the teams are already there or coming in 2014 or even 15.
Meanwhile, programs like Louisville just sweat and hope to make themselves look attractive to someone in the near future.
Good piece on whether the SEC should act now with expansion plans rather than wait to see what the Big 11 does.
And here is the really delicate part: Obviously if the SEC wanted to expand, the first phone call would be to Texas. Texas brings that kind of value and more. But if Texas says no, what are the SEC’s real options?
Do they go to the ACC and take teams from a conference that just expanded? The ACC is currently in negotiations for its new television deals and the proposed numbers from the TV boys are not great. To be perfectly candid, the ACC as a football conference is a little vulnerable right now.
The ACC got hammered in the court of public opinion when it took three teams from the Big East a few years ago. Does the SEC want that kind of PR headache? Of course not. But it may have no choice. Hurting another conference would be bad. Doing nothing could be worse.
Oh, the possible irony.