The Big Ten poached the ACC prior to Thanksgiving when the Midwestern conference reached the east coast by adding Maryland and bringing in Rutgers from the Big East, but the conference may not be completely done raiding the ACC just yet.
One of the worst kept secrets in college athletics is that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney wants the conference to move from a 14-team league as it exists currently and to move to 16 teams. While other power conferences are taking a wait-and-see approach to conference expansion and realignment, Delaney has been proactive and doesn’t want to be left without a chair in this game of musical chairs.
According to a report by Chip Brown of OrangeBloods.com, Delaney has reached out to North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech to gauge their interest in a potential move to the conference. The three schools from the ACC would meet the requirement of being a member of the Association of American Universities.
All members of the Big Ten are members of The AAU except for Nebraska–which was kicked out in 2011–Virginia has been in that group since 1904, North Carolina has been a member since 1922 and Georgia Tech was added in 2010.
Virginia would give the conference another school along the eastern seaboard and an inlet into the fertile recruiting ground in that state, and could help ensure that Penn State sticks with the conference for the long-term.
Georgia Tech would give a massive boost to recruiting in the south where the Big Ten has struggled in recent years to poach elite prep talent from SEC schools and would open up the conference to the Atlanta television market.
North Carolina would appear to be the least likely of the three to move since they are a charter member of the ACC and North Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham told fans in November when rumors began to circulate that the school reached out to the Big Ten that the school plans on calling the ACC its home for the foreseeable future.
Where there is smoke, there is fire and further expansion announcements for the Big Ten could be heating up and Delaney is hoping that he can lure two of these three schools to join what would be a national conference.
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