Jim Delany Hammers Home Big Ten Goal Of Expanding To Other Regions During Meetings
As Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has "said repeatedly, the conference’s No. 1 goal is to live and thrive in two regions of the country," and at this week’s spring meetings, the "move to the East has been hammered home as a key to the future" of the conference, according to Matt Charboneau of the DETROIT NEWS. Northwestern AD Jim Phillips: “You’ve got to go out there, you’ve got to be active out there and you’ve got to flex your muscle out there. Are you going to be a renter in that region? Or are you going to be somebody that actually takes up ownership out there? We’re going to be aggressive, that’s just who we’ve been. Not everyone has agreed with the schools we’ve added, and that’s OK. But we need to be active.” But Charboneau notes even with the push east, that "doesn't mean the conference is abandoning its Midwestern roots, especially when it comes to staging championships." While moving the basketball tournament is a "more reasonable notion, there could be movement" for both it and the football championship game. Delany yesterday said that an "announcement is coming soon on future sites" for the football game. Michigan State AD Mark Hollis is "all for trying to bring events to the state, especially in a Detroit area he believes is undergoing a revitalization." Meanwhile, Nebraska AD Shawn Eichorst would "love to take the basketball tournament to the westernmost region, with Omaha -- site of this season’s Big Ten baseball tournament -- being a prime candidate" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/15). Iowa AD Gary Barta said, “When the Chicago and Indianapolis contracts are up, there has been discussion about opening it up and making sure it’s competitive. If Des Moines bids, great.” Barta said that Des Moines specifically was "not discussed as a potential host" (Cedar Rapids GAZETTE, 5/15).
EXPANDING ITS REACH: In Indiana, Mike Carmin notes while the Big Ten men's basketball tournament will go to DC in '17, that "doesn't mean the conference is abandoning its Midwest ties." Purdue AD Morgan Burke: "There will be some ripple effect, but I don't see us moving wholesale out of the Midwest." Carmin writes fans should "expect more competitions near the East Coast" and some championships "to be played near Rutgers and Maryland." Fans also can expect the Big Ten to have a "visible presence" in the N.Y. and DC TV markets. Burke said, "I think if we learned anything when Penn State came aboard back in '92 is that we didn't spend enough time trying to cultivate and work with that community and make them feel they were part of the Big Ten" (Lafayette JOURNAL & COURIER, 5/15).
BUYER'S REMORSE? ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg wrote of Rutgers joining the conference, "Does the Big Ten regret inviting the State University of New Jersey into the league?" Delany: "No buyer's remorse at all. When I go to Jersey, I go to New York, I go to support, not to judge" (ESPN.com, 5/14).