Sorting the numbers of expansion
Originally posted March 3rd, 2010
It is the topic that just won't go away... will the Big Ten expand or not? The conference came out several months ago and said that it would look over the next 12-18 months if expansion is the way to go for the future. Well since that announcement has come out there have been wild speculations and rumors thrown around with schools from Pittsburgh to Texas to Notre Dame to just about any other school within 1,000 miles.
There are so many reasons of why expansion would be a good move for the conference and why joining the Big Ten would be so lucrative to schools who are already in other leagues at this time. The Big Ten has one of the best television deals in the nation and also a little thing called the Big Ten Network. The league does an equal split of the incoming revenue and each athletic director is more than happy to take that check from the league to help fund the rest of the varsity sports on campus.
But expansion goes more deeply than just athletics. Of course that is going to be the public face of expansion and for many could be the first sign that the days of the BCS could be drawing to a close within the decade and that super conferences could come to be and create a national tournament for college football.
Expansion is just as much about the academic side of things and the Big Ten sits in great shape with all 11 members (and the University of Chicago) being part of the Committee of Institutional Cooperation. In short the CIC is a consortium of the 12 member schools for collaboration of research endeavors among other things.
The Big Ten (plus U. of Chicago) is also fortunate for having ten schools out of 12 listed in the top 50 of financial endowments. While there is no concrete evidence that there is direct ratio between the amount of the endowment and the academic prestige of the school it is hard not to see some correlations.
We are taking a look at many of the schools that have been mentioned as candidates for expansion (based on a 12, 14 or 16 team league) no matter how absurd they have been. We will break them down by what they add for television, what their U.S. News & World Report ranking is (most recent rankings) and the amount of their endowments. Then you can judge for yourself where some of these schools stand in this brief snapshot.
Now it wouldn't be fair if we didn't look at the current schools in the Big Ten (add U. of Chicago) of where they stand. So often Big Ten fans just stack the teams up based on how they finish on the gridiron or hardwood but check out how successful the league is as a whole in being one of the premiere conferences in the nation.
Television market size list provided by TVJobs.com
Endowment numbers can be found here
* Tier 3 schools rank in the bottom 50% of colleges and are not given numerical ranks
US News & World Report rankings can be found here