Texas to the Big Ten? Delany Offers Clues to Who’s Next for Big Ten Expansion

by Kent Sterling

UnknownOne thing about Jim Delany, he does not speak in code.  Information is offered, and through a Monday Sudoku series of simple deductions, the truth is revealed.

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In his statement yesterday, Delany identified Association of American Universities membership, contiguous state to existing members, population, and federal research dollars as criteria for consideration for membership in the Big Ten, “I’d like to talk just a little bit about expansion. Rutgers and Maryland will join us on July 1, 2014. They’ll join 12 other members. And it’s sort of interesting. We were so fortunate that two AAU flagship institutions in contiguous states were able to join us.

“Interestingly, New Jersey and Maryland combined are only half the size of our smallest state, Indiana, but at the same time have provided us an incredible increase in ability to recruit students, student-athletes, have relationships with a lot of Big Ten people who already reside in that corridor, but we’ve had a 30 percent increase in the conference’s population footprint. So three percent in geographic territory, 30 percent in population in an area that I would argue is one of the most important areas, not only in America, but in the world.

“So we’re going to be working very hard with Rutgers and Maryland and with our own institutions to make friends, build relationships, and create some momentum for our Big Ten conference athletics in that region.

“When everything is finally completed and all 14 members are here, we’ll have in excess of $9 billion in federal research. The conference will span over 550,000 square miles, about 15 percent of the Continental United States. We’ll have 520,000 students under roof and 350 teams and almost 10,000 student-athletes and over $150 million in financial aid.”

In 2011, the University of Texas was ranked 26th in federal research money with just over $309 million, and was the 20th overall research institution in America.  Texas has been a member of the AAU since 1929.  From a population standpoint, Texas brings 26 million people to the party.  Not all are Longhorn fans, but they increase the population footprint considerably.

Unfortunately, there are a minimum of two states between the closest Big Ten state (Nebraska) and Texas.  It’s hard for me to believe that Texas would be DQ’ed because the plane ride from State College to Austin is 30 minutes farther than the trip to Lincoln, but Delany seems very proud of the connectivity of the states in the Big Ten’s footprint, a footprint that would be increased from 550,000 square miles to 819,000 or 28% of the land mass of the lower 48 states (not sure why that is interesting to Delany, but these are his metrics).

It’s been my theory that Texas would be selected by the Big Ten as one of the final two schools as the Big Ten becomes the Big 16.  Texas is a serious research institution, is a member of the AAU, and brings with it enough top 100 TV markets currently unserved by the Big Ten Network that it seems a logical choice despite the geographic disconnection.

Texas is a part of a conference that was hanging on by a thread two years ago, and was saved temporarily by the Big 12 allowing Texas to form the Longhorn Network, which provides disproportionate wealth, and may ultimately cause other conference members to bolt for the Pac 12.  TCU and West Virginia have been added to bring the total of schools to 10, but those are small and ill-fitting bandaids on a gaping wound.

The ACC isn’t going anywhere after gathering some of the refuse from the inevitable Big East implosion, but it might be possible for the Big Ten to take on Virginia (AAU since 1922, and #52 in federal research dollars with $218.5M).  North Carolina would have made for a nice target, but the ongoing academic fraud scandal, which seems to get worse by the day, isn’t doing the Tar Heels any favors.

After the bizarre turn of events at Rutgers over the past four-and-a-half months, it’s unlikely the Big Ten wants to court a school that seems eager to avoid admitting to or correcting serious errors in providing ghost classes for athletes.

As a conference that is weighted more toward basketball than football, the ACC isn’t able to garner nearly the same level of revenue as the Big Ten, and with Maryland, Rutgers, and potentially Virginia, they would fit as AAU members (since 1922), federal research players (#17 – $431M), connected to Virginia, and the 10th most populous state.  If the Big Ten wants UVA and UNC, it would seem all Delany would need to do is ask.

The Big 12 is held together with bailing wire and fraying duct tape.  Unless there is a way for the members not Texas to level the financial playing field with the Longhorns, it will spin like an out of whack fan until the gravity pulls the poorly balanced blades to fly from its axis.

The first order of business for all the conferences will be to help the NCAA evolve toward a legislative separation among the haves and have lesses among the 348 Division One schools.  That begins August 8 with a meeting of the executive committee and the D-I Board, and will continue through next January, according to an excellent piece by Mark Alesia on indystar.com.

Once that’s in the rearview mirror, the conferences can return to the work of recasting their membership.  My money is on Texas and Virginia moving to the Big Ten before the end of the decade, but neither appear to be close to the sure thing it appeared they were one year ago.  North Carolina is a dark horse.

One debate about which we no longer need to speculate is whether Texas would move into the Legends or Leaders Divisions.  See, eventually logic prevails in the Big Ten.

[ed. note:  I’ve gotten a few questions and comments about the grant in rights signed by the ACC in April that would prohibit the schools fram taking their broadcast rights out of the conference to the Big Ten or another suitor.  I’m not convinced that the Big Ten wouldn’t move to take Virginia anyway because there are a good fit in every other area, so I didn’t mention the grant in rights because the explanation of what the hell it is and how it affects the conference realignment issues would have taken another 500 words.  The Big 12’s grant in rights lapses in 2025, but there are ways that that could fall apart or be circumvented.]

27 thoughts on “Texas to the Big Ten? Delany Offers Clues to Who’s Next for Big Ten Expansion

  1. Shannon H.

    interesting! i think the acc is sticking together with that grants of rights deal. Academically Rutgers is a big boon for the B1G! It now ranked 24 in research funding.

    1. Wittgenstein

      One reason why the ACC will remain a stable and viable conference is the fact that the Board of Regents that governs the University of North Carolina is the same Board of Regents that governs North Carolina State University. It is then difficult to imagine that this same Board of Regents would allow North Carolina to join the Big Ten while North Carolina State would remain in the ACC. And it would be even more difficult to imagine that this same Board of Regents would cut a deal between the Big Ten and SEC, where North Carolina would join the Big Ten and North Carolina State would join the SEC.

  2. Rodney

    You don’t have a clue about the big 12 and should be shot for writing such a stupid article. Big 12 has equal revenue sharing. Each school has their own network… which makes profits for their school. Learn a subject before you make yourself look like such a fool.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      So you’re saying that Iowa State’s Cyclones.tv generates as much revenue for the university as the Longhorn Network does for Texas? The Big 12 is still in a very tenuous spot, and the playing field is nowhere near level. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your rant! Allowing each school to control their own third tier rights is ridiculous.

      1. Adam

        No, what he is saying is that even the lowest earning Tier 3 revenue producing team in he Big 12 is going to be making about 40 million AFTER bowl and NCAA payouts per year.

        Texas is going to be making 55 million but they already make more money than any school in the country and it hasn’t bought them anything.

        You rust belt idiots dont realize this but Texas doesnt want to be in a conference full of failing states with dwindling populations where they would play second or third fiddle to schools THEY (not me) consider lesser than them.

  3. Denny

    I though that there would be somekind of information in this article, insted there is nothing but personal speculation.
    Just another Big Ten homer talking about how great their conference is. Waste of time reading.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The Big Ten is run like a conference of 14 equal parts, while the Big 12 appeased Texas and left the rest of the conference members swinging in the wind.

      1. Denny

        What the hell does that have to do with Texas joining the Big Ten?
        That is the title of your article. You try to come across as having some kind of insider information and all you do is post your “theory”.

        1. kentsterling Post author

          You have correctly assessed the content of the post. The post is a discussion of several ways the conference realignment could continue – or stop. That’s why there is a question mark at the end of “Texas to the Big Ten?”

      2. Adam

        Dude, no it hasnt.

        The Big 12 shares first and second tier revenue which for all but maybe 10-15 schools in the country means anything. Texas, and every other Big 12 school gets to keep its own Tier 3 inventory and sell it as they see fit.

        Texas makes 15 million a year on its Tier 3 revenue. OU is making about 10, WVU 9, OSU and KU 7, the rest are making between 4 and 6. Yes there is a gap, but that gap hasnt and wont mean a damn thing. Texas cannot buy recruits any more than OSU can, and their facilities are already top notch, same as Michigan and OSU and Nebraska and Pedo State. Furthermore, 5 million of Texas gauranteed money from the LHN goes to academics and THAT is more than anything the B1G can offer.

        You guys are freakng idiots. KSU with a 11 million dollar deficit in TV/NCAA/Bowl payouts won the conference last year. Money, at some point, levels off and more money is just better for the institution academically, not athletically.

        1. kentsterling Post author

          Your view of college athletics is through opaque glasses. There will be occasional outliers who will win despite a lack of cash, but more often than not to the rich go the spoils. Schools with cash are able to expand budget for assistants, strength coaches, facilities, dietitians, sports psychologists, and on and on. Oklahoma State has the deep pockets of T. Boone Pickens to syphon from.

          The Big Ten will continue to plump revenue sources impossible for the Big 12 to dream of. That’s why expansion for the Big 12 included TCU and West Virginia, while A&M and Mizzou bolted for greener pastures.

          No school has left the Big Ten since the University of Chicago chose to bolt in 1946 as it de-emphasized athletics. The Big Ten has solved problems the Big 12 would like to have.

  4. Big 12

    It is sad that you would write such a ridiculous post. BIG 12 schools are distiributing revenues on par with everyone including the Big Ten. Each school has its own deals for tier 3 just as UT does with the LHN. The conference shares revenues equally in all things the conference distirbutes. The LHN is a 20 year deal and cant be dissolved unless both parties agree, and it cant be merged into another conference. BIG 12 schools bring in more total revenues than Pac 12 schools- if anyone leaves it will be the other way around. Texas makes more in the BIG 12 than any school in the nation and other schools are doing fine as well. In short, you have no idea what you are writing about. you need to write a complete recant of the trash youve posted above.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      You are talking about what is as though it cannot be something else. Each school controlling its own third tier rights provides such a vast inequity of resources, that Iowa State will never be able to compete with Texas. The NFL spreads the wealth equally and they thrive, and so does the Big Ten. The Big 12 grabbed its ankles to accommodate UT, and now they have a house of wet cards.

      What other schools are doing just fine? And why don’t you go ahead and define “just fine?”

      Texas brought in $163M in total revenue in 2012. Iowa State made $55M. Of the schools who began 2012 in the Big 12, six took in less than Purdue, which ranks last in the Big Ten. Three of those schools have bailed for greener pastures.

      It’s not Texas that will begin the Big 12 meltdown – it will be the bottom feeders who can’t possibly compete with that juggernaut who will find a way out, and force Texas to behave less like a bully, and more like a partner.

      I don’t believe that will happen in the Big 12.

    2. Wittgenstein

      As a prologue to the following comments: I have great respect for the University of Texas, the city of Austin and the great state of Texas. The history and tradition of the Longhorns and its football program is second to none. And kudos to the Longhorns for making out like bandits and taking ESPN to the cleaners for the Longhorn Network!

      The United States of America is a free country. If the Longhorns are happy and content with the Big 12, then the Longhorns should stay in the Big 12 and live happily ever after. If the Longhorns are unhappy, and want to join the Pac-12, then the Longhorns should join the Pac-12 and live happily ever after.

      However, if Texas would ever leave the Big 12, the main reason will not be money (although money would be an important factor). The main reason will be “status”.

      As the 2006 Jefferson Lecturer of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the great American novelist Tom Wolfe presented his lecture “The Human Beast” where he argues this point best (paraphrased):

      “The same phenomenon, championism, I believe, solves the mystery of something I had been unable to figure out for a very long time, namely, what is it that accounts for the extraordinary emotion of sports fans? What earthly connection do the citizens of New York City think they have to, say, the New York Yankees, whose team includes not one person from the city of New York, which is, in fact, 40 percent Latin American, and an assortment of mercenaries who will play anywhere for the top dollar? How can such a team get such a strong grip on local emotions? Here we see championism in its most elemental form. As far back as the story of David and Goliath in the Bible, the human beast has become excited by those who represent them in what at that stage of history was known as single combat … This notion of a surrogate, a champion, who can represent an entire people and give them the exultation of victory when it triumphs and plunge them into depression of defeat when he loses, has persisted for millennia.

      Single combat was never pursued as a substitute for actual battle; these contests were always held as an indication of which way the gods were leaning. Nevertheless, both the exultation and the depression were real emotions, curious emotions, on the face of it, entirely aroused by status concerns. The surprising insinuations of status concerns into every area of life must be understood if one is to understand the nature of the human beast. Consider the toxic power of humiliation. Humiliation is a wound inflicted upon the beast’s status picture of himself, upon the validity of his standing within the boundaries of his own fiction absolute … That a wound to one’s status, not to one’s body, not to one’s bank account, not to one’s general fortunes in life, that such a wound to one’s status could have such a severe effect upon the psyche of the human beast, is no minor matter. It means that we have come upon a form of anguish that is somehow primal. Even the most trivial and the most unlikely circumstances can be colored by the beast’s constant and unrelenting concern for his own status. Which is to stay, his own standing, his own rank, in the eyes of others and in his own eyes.”

      In other words, there is no way that the Texas Longhorns will ever accept playing second fiddle to the SEC and the Texas A&M Aggies.

      NO WAY.

  5. Dan

    You make a compelling argument for why the B1G would want to add Texas, unfortunately I just don’t see the motivation being there for Texas to come aboard. I do think that eventually Texas will attempt to make a move to a new conference, especially after seeing how a more “appealing” conference has helped baby brother A&M overall. Ultimately I think UT will join the PAC as I think their fans and potential recruits would rather face off against USC and Oregon over the left overs in the BigXII. The B1G will definitely expand again but will probably end up bringing in Missouri for both the demographics and giving the shot to the SEC that could knock loose more tantalizing options (like UVA or UNC). As a B1G fan I’d like to see the final four additions be Mizzou, Kansas, UVA, and either VaTech (I know they aren’t AAU but still…) or UNC (regardless of the recent corruptions its still a great institution).

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Mizzou would have crawled to the Big Ten across broken glass when chaos reign in conference expansion. The Big Ten passed. Not sure why, but Mizzou is not a part of the Big Ten’s plans.

    2. Wittgenstein

      Motivation? According to a variety of win/loss metrics, the (top ten) most successful universities (franchises) (brands) in the history of college football are (alphabetically): Alabama, Harvard, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Nebraska, Texas and Yale (when including wins vacated by the NCAA). If you exclude Harvard and Yale, then 50% of these universities are members of the Big Ten Conference. If Texas and Oklahoma would become members of the Big Ten, then that number increases to 75%. Motivation?? How about US Dollars multiplied by a billion or two.

      Cold weather? More than half of the franchises in the National Football League are in cities located north of the Oklahoma border. If a college football player doesn’t want to play in cold weather, then that excludes half of the potential employment opportunities in the National Football League. Cold Weather?? Stanford golden boy John Elway bitched and moaned when he was drafted by Baltimore; thereafter he played for Denver, a cold weather city that he still calls home.

      Travel distances? The driving distance between Austin, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota is about 15% greater than the driving distance between Austin, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona. Add another 3 hours to account for possible traffic jams when driving in Los Angeles. Holiday in Portland or Seattle? May I suggest July or August when it doesn’t rain as much. Travel distances?? Joining the Pac-12 will require much more travel than joining the Big Ten. And Big Ten football teams will have the future opportunity to play three bowl games in California (which is a more convenient time to combine with a holiday).

      Other reasons? How about oil?? The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the world’s largest futures exchange company. It owns and operates large derivatives and futures exchanges in Chicago and New York City, as well as online trading platforms. It also owns the Dow Jones stock and financial indexes, and CME Clearing Services, which provides settlement and clearing of exchange trades. The exchange-traded derivative contracts include futures and options based on interest rates, equity indexes, foreign exchange, energy, agricultural commodities, rare and precious metals, weather, and real estate. It has been described by The Economist as “The biggest financial exchange you have never heard of”.

  6. 'Wesconsin'

    Never, ever will the Big Presidents allow ‘Mo” in…..

    and Virginia Tech….no way

    read up on it kid…..it’s out there

    Delaney is after the eastern seaboard plus possibly G. Tech

    1. Wittgenstein

      Why wouldn’t Oklahoma be considered as candidate No. 16? Virginia is mentioned with its $218.5 million of federal research dollars, but that would represent an incremental gain of only 2.5% of the excess of $9 billion as quoted by Commissioner Delaney. AAU membership is implied as a possible litmus test, but Nebraska lost its AAU membership soon after joining the Big Ten. Furthermore, if and when John Hopkins would also join the CIC, then 16 of the 18 schools of the CIC would have AAU status (which would match the number of 16 schools in the B1G football divisions). Contiguous states are also mentioned as another possible litmus test, but Oklahoma’s historical rivalry with Nebraska mitigates that associated concern. Plus there is the fact that the Board of Regents governing Oklahoma is not the same Board of Regents governing Oklahoma State. Mr Sterling, you are guilty of not seeing something, which is so obvious that it is not obvious.

  7. kentsterling Post author

    That’s what the paragraph means – we don’t need to debate whether it will be in either the Legends or Leaders because they aren’t called Legends and Leaders anymore. That’s why there will be no debate. The reason for the debate is gone as Jim Delany has decided that the original monikers should be scrapped in favor of East and West. In other words, because the sames of the divisions are being changed, it would be ridiculous to continue to argue whether a school would be in the Legends or Leaders. For a debate to rage as to the destination of a school into either the Legends or Leaders divisions, existence of those designations would be required. It would be like arguing who the next czar of Russia should be or the next King of France, as those positions no longer exist. Ot, if you play a little golf, we would no longer argue who on the PGA Tour is the best Mashie Niblic player – we would just say 7-iron.

    If that’s not clear enough, if you tried to book a flight to New Amsterdam, I don’t know where you might wind up, but it’s unlikely Travelocity.com or a travel agent would know that by using the archaic name for the largest city in America, that you wanted to head for the Big Apple – or New York in common parlance.

    One more example that might drive home the point, and affirm it forever in your mind is the Baltimore Orioles. They were the St. Louis Browns through 1953, and before that – for just one season in the American League – the Milwaukee Brewers. If you called the Orioles the Brewers or Browns, you would confuse those you spoke to. You would be wrong despite talking about the same franchise.

    Hope that helps. I’ve sketched out another 52 examples if you require more specific examples that will drive home the point I made in the last paragraph of the post as well as this incredibly pedantic list of instances that refer to the institution of updated vernacular.

    1. Gorbachev

      From Wikipedia:

      A rhetorical device is a technique that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a meaning with the goal of persuading him or her towards considering a topic from a different perspective.

      The goal of rhetoric is to persuade towards a particular frame of view or a particular course of action, so appropriate rhetorical devices are used to construct sentences designed to encourage or provoke a rational argument from an emotional display of a given perspective or action. Note that although rhetorical devices may be used to evoke an emotional response in the audience, this is not their primary purpose.

      Two common rhetorical devices are irony and metaphor.

      The use of irony in rhetoric is primarily to convey to the audience an incongruity that is often used as a tool of humor in order to deprecate or ridicule an idea or course of action.

      The use of metaphor in rhetoric is primarily to convey to the audience a new idea or meaning by linking it to an existing idea or meaning with which the audience is already familiar. By making the new concept appear to be linked to — or a type of — the old and familiar concept, the person using the metaphor hopes to help the audience understand the new concept.


  8. Ron

    Or the paragraph could simply mean you made a flub. The make-up East and West division will be different than those of the Legends and Leaders. I wonder why you need to carry-on over such a small thing!

    PS. It’s properly spelled Nieuw Amsterdam. New York is not common parlance, it’s the name of the city.

    Thanks for my biggest laugh of the day!

    1. Reagan

      No, the paragraph is not a flub. Anyone with a high school degree should be able to understand what Kent is saying.

    2. kentsterling Post author

      It would be spelled “Nieuw” if we were in Holland, but that was never the spelling of New Amsterdam. You are correct that it’s not called New York in common parlance. It’s called Manhattan in common parlance.

  9. vp19

    ESPN may be looking to ditch the Longhorn Network, as it hasn’t been able to gain much access in the state and the network has been cutting back on some of its international channels. (In contrast, an LHN-like network for the University of Oklahoma, under Fox auspices, has been successful within its state.) If ESPN pulls the plug on the LHN, UT could pursue Big Ten membership, or play the conference off against the Pac in order to get the best deal — though in the latter case, it might also have to bring along Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Okie State, none of whom would be B1G candidates for academic reasons.

    In a Texas-to-Big Ten scenario, who would be UT’s partner? Kansas (an AAU member) is a possibility if it can break off from K-State; the remaining eight Big 12 members would add four newcomers (including Cincinnati and Connecticut), institute a conference championship football game, and all members would be assured of gaining status in the new NCAA Division 4 were it to come to fruition. If KU had to stay behind, the 16th member could be Missouri (which wanted the Big Ten all along) or Vanderbilt (whose academic heft would provide a complement to Northwestern).

  10. Carl Sagan

    I like your style, Kent.

    “Who Speaks for Earth?”

    We humans have set foot on another world in a place called the Sea of Tranquility, an astonishing achievement for creatures such as we, whose earliest footsteps three and one-half million years old are preserved in the volcanic ash of east Africa. We have walked far.

    These are some of the things that hydrogen atoms do given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution. It has the sound of epic myth, but it is simply a description of the evolution of the cosmos as revealed by science in our time. And we, we who embody the local eyes and ears and thoughts and feelings of the cosmos, we have begun at least to wonder about our origins — star stuff contemplating the stars, organized collections of ten billion billion billion atoms, contemplating the evolution of nature, tracing that long path by which it arrived at consciousness here on the planet earth, and perhaps throughout the cosmos.

    Our loyalties are to the species and to the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring!

    (PBS, 1980)


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