July 31, 2007
Not all about football
Chicago, Ill. - The Big Ten season kicks off in slightly more than a month but for many in attendance for Big Ten football media days actual on-field issues were on the back burner as several other issues were discussed at length including the brand new Big Ten Network and any rumors of possible league expansion.
Commissioner Jim Delaney kicked off the morning festivities addressing the prospects of the Big Ten going through another round of expansion and adding a 12th team to the league.
"From the quotes out there, you might think the Big Ten is about to expand when that is not the case," Delaney explained. "What I said (in a printed interview) was, every three to five years we look at expansion and we will continue to look at it. We haven't looked at the issue since we had the conversation with Notre Dame. It is not a front-burner issue. Since those talks, we have not had conversations with anyone, nor do we plan on having those conversations with anyone."
Many opponents of further expansion cite the fact that the addition of a 12th team would likely push the league into a championship game and the possible devaluation of the end-of-season rivalry games. Is Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel looking for the league to expand anytime soon?
"I think it is probably inevitable, someday," Tressel said. "Maybe not in my lifetime, but someday. Would I like to move toward a championship game? No. I like the way that the Big Ten is set up and I like the culture of our bowl games and the opportunity for multiple teams to go to bowls and be rewarded for good seasons and fans get a chance to travel to different cities. Anything to take away from the traditional rivalries in the Big Ten, my opinion, not speaking on behalf of the university or the Big Ten is that it doesn't make sense."
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