Commissioner Jim Delaney contacted schools and conference officials Tuesday to dispel any rumors that any school had been offered a chance for membership in the Big 10 Conference.
Schools being considered by the Big 10 to join the conference are Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Rutgers. Gene Smith, the athletic director at Ohio State University, says that Delaney sent an e-mail Wednesday that reassured the school that no offers had been made.
Smith had no concern that the conference would act behind the school’s back.
“Nothing. There’s no truth to it whatsoever. Actually, Jim sent us all an e-mail telling us there’s no truth to that — which we knew. There’s no extensions of offers that have been made, so that’s not true,” said Smith when asked if there was any truth to the rumors.
The conference was expanded to 11 teams in 1990 when Penn State joined the conference. Now they are looking to expand again in hopes that a major network will offer them a contract for television broadcasting rights. The Big 10 also would like to add a conference championship game to the end of their football season.
The University of Missouri is the most likely institution to accept an invitation from the Big 10. Its location and academic standards make Mizzou the perfect fit. There are reports that the Missouri athletic director, Mike Alden, met with school officials to discuss leaving the Big 12.
Notre Dame is probably the biggest long-shot on the list of potential schools to join the Big 10. The football program at Notre Dame stands on its own as an independent entity in college football, able to play rivals from many conferences in any venue they can arrange. Notre Dame also already has a lucrative television contract with NBC that currently pays them 1.2 million dollars a game. Notre Dame has set aside part of that revenue to fund undergraduate scholarships.
Online Sportsbooks have set the Missouri Tiger’s chances of winning the 2011 BCS National Championship at +4500.