The Big Ten poached the ACC before Thanksgiving when the Midwestern conference reached the east coast by adding Maryland and bringing in Rutgers from the Big East, but the conference is not 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 currently exists 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.
Reaching out to North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech to gauge their interest in a potential move to the conference is not a surprise, but it would shock me if North Carolina leaves the ACC, because they are a charter member of the conference and North Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham told fans in November that the school plans on calling the ACC its home for the foreseeable future.
But the potential additions of Virginia and Georgia Tech are more likely in my opinion and both 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 and Georgia Tech was added in 2010. By the way, North Carolina has been a member since 1922.
Virginia would give the conference another school along the eastern seaboard and an inlet into the fertile recruiting ground in that state and D.C. area, and could help make sure 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.
These additions make sense from an academic, athletic and perhaps most importantly financially standpoint. And while there has been a lot of smoke surrounding further conference expansion in recent months it now looks like the rumors are closer to being a reality with the invitations being offered.
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