Big Ten Conference Probably Isn't Done With Expansion

By Brian Lester
The Star Ledger – USA TODAY Sports Images

Well, it’s good to know the Big Ten is on hold with expansion, at least for now.

I stress the “for now” because as league commissioner Jim Delany put it after sitting in on a panel at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Thursday, the Big Ten is still on alert when it comes to expanding.

“I would describe our position as being inactive, but alert,” Delany said in an Associated Press article. “Monitoring the landscape is overused, so we’re trying to figure out what’s the most apt way to describe where we are.”

The Big Ten will be at 14 teams once Maryland and Rutgers officially begin competing in the conference, and quite frankly, while I don’t like the addition of either team, I don’t think the Big Ten needs to go any further with expansion.

Expansion tramples on the tradition and history of conferences. It wipes out rivalries, and sometimes even has a negative impact on the competitiveness among the teams within a conference.

“We assessed staying where we were, and thought there was some risk to that long term,” Delany said in the article. “We also understand that there’s risk when you expand because you get brand dilution.”

Regardless of the risks, the reality of the situation is that money trumps risk every time and Delany knows as well as anyone that there are options out there for his league to tap into other markets.

So while it would be nice if the Big Ten would just leave everything as it is — 14 teams is enough — my guess is the expansion of the conference isn’t finished.

Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association as well.

Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at

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