SBD/Issue 64/Collegiate Sports

Wisconsin AD Says Big Ten Conference Seeking 12th Member School

Alvarez Says There Is No Timetable
To Add 12th School To Big Ten
Univ. of Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez Friday said that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "plans to identify and aggressively recruit a 12th school for the league," according to Jeff Potrykus of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. Alvarez: "I have a sense he is going to take this year to really be more aggressive about it, but there is no timetable. We've gone through a very intense and thorough investigation of a number of schools from all over the country." Alvarez noted that the "renewed interest in adding a 12th member springs from a number of reasons." One reason is the "visibility of football," as Big Ten teams "generally are finished playing in November" while teams in the SEC, Big 12 and ACC play into December. Alvarez: "We're irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we're not playing." Potrykus noted a 12th team "would allow for two divisions in football and other sports and a football championship game." Travel costs "also would be cut down for all sports." Alvarez: "I just think everybody feels that is the direction to go, coaches and administrators" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/12). ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg noted Delany earlier this year said that the league has "no immediate plans to add a 12th team." Delany in May said, "There are a lot (of schools) that could take a lot away, but there aren't a lot that could bring so much to make the choice an easy one. You have to have a lot to make something go like this, and it's broader than really a championship game or a basketball tournament" (ESPN.com, 12/11).

POSSIBLE CANDIDATES: YAHOO SPORTS' Matt Hinton wrote, "For 18 years, the staunch old Big Ten has watched the SEC's two-division, championship game model take hold and proliferate." A Big Ten championship game has been "something of a holy grail for supporters for a long time -- in terms of the potential venue, ticket sales and TV audience, it could easily compete with the annual blockbusters in the SEC and Big 12." The "great white whale of Big Ten expansion, of course, is the elusive Notre Dame, which remains tantalizingly at large, always in sight but never within reach." Notre Dame "defines itself in football by its ability to stand alone, and nothing has happened in recruiting, television contracts or bowl opportunities to change that equation." Hinton: "Until the market forces the Irish to listen ... none of the other candidates are going to measure up" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 12/12). In Pennsylvania, Cory Giger wrote, "Just because the Big Ten might want one of them -- like Notre Dame, Pitt, Syracuse, Maryland or Boston College -- doesn't mean those schools would be at all interested in walking away from their current situations." If the Big Ten "cannot get Notre Dame, it may not find a better alternative than Cincinnati." Cincinnati is "obviously an excellent fit geographically." But the "lone drawback would be that its football facility, Nippert Stadium, seats only 35,000" (ALTOONA MIRROR, 12/13).

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