So much for the leisurely 18 month period for exploring their options. Recent reports indicate that the Big Ten expansion timetable has gone into overdrive. The current plan for expansion involves a 14 team or 16 team “Super Big Ten” which would require adding three or five additional institutions. A number of the potential targets are in the Big East Conference, which added a “loyalty clause” to the conference agreement following the raid by the ACC that stripped Boston College, the University of Miami, and Virginia Tech from the Big East several years ago. A CBS blogger ranks the potential expansion targets, including Big East members Connecticut, Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt. The “loyalty clause” requires 27 months notice from a departing school, and a relatively paltry $5 million buyout.
The timetable was apparently moved up when someone in the Big 10 office added 27 months to today’s date and realized it was a long time in the future, especially when they were going to “explore” expansion for 12-18 months. Expansion candidate #1 was, and remains, Notre Dame. The report in the Chicago Tribune linked above claims that Notre Dame could increase TV revenues from $15 million per year from its current deal with NBC to $22 million per year from an expanded Big Ten. Despite the revenue increase, compensation for student athletes will remain fixed at the value of a scholarship, room and board.