by Kent Sterling
There have been a multitude of recent reports, or really just one from a guy in Kansas City – a host from 810 WHB in Kansas City. The reports are premature.
There are nine schools being considered for invitation to the Big Ten Conference, according to a source close to the discussion. The Big Ten is evaluating the financial advantages to inviting Rutgers, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, West Virginia, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh.
Any decision and vote is a long way off, according to the source, and there is no vote expected at the meeting of Big Ten presidents scheduled for early June.
Notre Dame’s membership is the big ticket for the conference, but that will require a virtual pillaging of the Big East. The Big Ten is weighing the possibility of just such a pillaging.
Missouri is still on the list with Nebraska, but the Big Ten has more to give to those schools than they have for the Big Ten. Missouri’s fan base is not as large as most schools already in the conference, and both Missouri and Nebraska bring very little as far as a significant population to potential TV audience for the profitable Big Ten Network.
The process to determine the final five invitees, should the Big Ten decide to add five, will be determined by Notre Dame. They want a say in the construct of the new behemoth of a mega-conference. The Fighting Irish will be the first to say yea or nay – although both sides will never acknowledge making or receiving an offer, unless the Irish accept the Big Ten’s non-invitation. If their answer is yes, the plan is to add either two or four other schools from the Big East. If the answer is no, the plan will change to include Missouri, Nebraska, and Rutgers.
The story is fluid, but the Big Ten is not going to act prematurely. They are looking for longterm partners, not a bandage for a flesh wound.