Senator: Use Feds, IRS To Stop Conference Chaos

It’s a given that prominent politicians from states adversely affected by the possible dissolution of the Big 12 will attempt to use their governing power to block such conference re-alignment.

Charles Grassley Stumping For Iowa State

With Iowa State seemingly screwed by the demise of the Big 12, first up with material threats of such action is U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.

The DES MOINES REGISTER reports today:

(Grassley) said options could range from asking the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a review of whether the changes violate federal anti-trust laws — something U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate anti-trust committee, brought up Wednesday.

Serious consideration also could be given, Grassley said, to introducing legislation to end the federal tax deduction permitted to college athletic contributors.

More from Grassley himself: Read more…

Notre Dame AD: No Current Talks With The Big 10

Last night, Texas-affiliated Orangebloods.com filled us in on the latest conjecture out of what is likely the University of Texas athletic dept.:

Notre Dame Expand Like a Champion

That same athletic director (source) said if Notre Dame agreed to join the league, the Big Ten’s expansion would stop at one school - Notre Dame - and be a 12-school league.

Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com also reported last night on KZNX-AM in Austin that if ND doesn’t immediately join the Big Ten, his “source” told him that the league would then set in motion a plan to expand to 16 teams, plucking Nebraska and Missouri from the Big 12 and perhaps Rutgers, Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East.

With the Pac-10 then gone to 16 teams, that could possibly set the scene for four 16-team superconferences, none of which would included Notre Dame. (With the remaining desirable Big East and Big 12 teams picked over by SEC, ACC and/or MWC.)

The latter threat supposedly could force Notre Dame’s hand into joining the Big Ten as the rust belt league’s 16th team, but according to ND AD Jack Swarbrick, the Irish at least seem like they will not be the first party to make a move.

Speaking to Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES, Swarbrick said last night of talks with the Big Ten: Read more…

Out In The Cold? Panic Officially Sets In At Kansas

Lee Barfknecht of the OMAHA WORLD-HERALD reported yesterday, “two Big 12 sources confirmed to The World-Herald that last week Nebraska and Missouri were given a drop-dead date — this Friday afternoon — to commit to the Big 12. Nebraska, with a Board of Regents meeting this weekend, asked for a delay into the week of June 14-18.

Lew Perkins as Luca Brasi

(Lew/KU’s Conference To Sleep With The Fishes?)

Nebraska’s decision on conference affiliation reportedly could trigger six schools bolting from the Big 12 to the Pac-10. Those half-dozen schools reportedly don’t include Kansas.

If you want to take the temperature of Kansans on that matter, Topeka Capital-Journal columnist Kevin Haskin provides a significant sample today:

Calling all politicians.

Pat Roberts, Sam Brownback, Kathleen Sebelius, Mark Parkinson … anyone with any connections whatsoever. Be it a regent, congressman, mayor, board chairman, entertainer or evangelist.

The time is now to get involved on behalf of Kansas and Kansas State.

Find a phone number or address for Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and rehearse a persuasive plea.

PLEEEESE! Do not abandon longtime partners you’ve competed against, and cajoled with, since helmets were made of leather.

While the dynamics of conference realignment are all about football, the shaky future of the Big 12 is more than just an athletics matter for KU and K-State.

If the Wildcats and Jayhawks are no longer competing in the big-time — repeat, rinse, repeat: B-C-S — virtually anything at K-State and KU could be affected. Adversely.

Both would still strive to be exemplary universities, retain great faculty, conduct breakthrough research and graduate sharp, promising professionals.

But enrollment could decline, perhaps significantly. Without as much sports exposure — be it daily on ESPN updates or over the course of a team schedule through television opportunities — the universities lose invaluable branding.

Embattled Kansas Athletic Director Lew Perkins strikes a similar tone on the subject:

“The most important thing for the University of Kansas and for college athletics is expansion. That’s it.

“If I said I wasn’t worried, I’d be a fool. I am worried every day — not only about Kansas and the Big 12, but for the Pac-10, the Big Ten. … This is serious, serious, serious stuff. I am concerned.”

Then there’s the most powerful man in Kansas, Jayhawks basketball coach Bill Self: Read more…

The 1st Sure Thing About Big 10’s Expansion Plan

Deciphering what’s really going on with the Big 10, Pac-10 and Big 12 is still in the dart-throwing phase, but at least one thing is absolutely for certain: Do not believe Big 10 Commissioner Jim Delany’s public pronouncements on the subject.

Big 10 President Jim Delany As Pontius Pilate

(Emperor Delany Apparently Inspired By Commodus)

On April 17, Teddy Greenstein of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reported on Big 10 expansion:

Remember the talk that the Big Ten would take 12-18 months to decide whether to expand?

An accelerated timetable has emerged, according to sources familiar with the process.

High-ranking Big Ten representatives will meet Sunday afternoon in Washington D.C. to discuss expansion.

If the league can emerge from the D.C. meetings with a mandate to expand, commissioner Jim Delany could take a substantial step next week at the annual BCS meetings, outside Phoenix.

On April 20, Delany said of Greenstein’s “accelerated timetable” report:

We have not accelerated anything. We haven’t changed anything, neither the timetable nor the process that was described.”

That leads us to an email between Ohio State President Gordon Gee and Delany dated April 19 and published today by the COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Read more…

Report: Big 10 Officially Extends Mizzou An Offer

Longtime Kansas City radio and television personality Kevin Kietzman, citing “multiple sources,” reported today that the Big Ten has officially extended an invitation to Missouri to join the conference.

Report: Missour to join Big 10

The WHB-AM afternoon talk show host also reported that Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers have been offered spots in the league.

On Missouri, Kietzman has specific details:

In order for the University of Missouri to join the Big Ten, the Missouri Board of Regents will still have to approve the move. Sources close to the governing body say the Big Ten has told officials that Mizzou could add $1.3 million per month in revenue to the lucrative Big Ten Television Network.

Big Ten representatives have also told Missouri officials they would like to have the entire expansion process wrapped up this summer with a formal announcement coming no later than July. Read more…

Report: Big Ten Soon To Present Expansion Plan

Ted Greenstein of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports today:

Big 10 Football Map League Considers Expansion

According to a league official, the Big Ten will release a statement Tuesday saying the matter has moved to the front burner. The first sign of change came from former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who told Wisconsin’s athletic board on Friday that Delany “is going to take this year to really be more aggressive about it. I just think everybody feels [expansion] is the direction to go, coaches and administrators.”

Alvarez also noted, “We’re irrelevant for the last three weeks of the football season because we’re not playing.” If Big 10 expanded two 12 teams, it would create two six team divisions and facilitate a lucrative Big 10 championship football game.

Penn State’s Joe Paterno said last May: “Everybody else is playing playoffs on television. You never see a Big Ten team mentioned. So I think that’s a handicap.

Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema previously said to ESPN.com that, “everybody would welcome a 12th team in the league and maybe having a championship game.

Six months ago, Commissioner Jim Delany went on the record about the issue: “I’m agnostic. I could live with two divisions and a championship game, but I think that has a tendency to devalue the season-ending game and have a negative impact (in terms of at-large BCS selection) on your losing team in season-ending games.

What school is the best candidate to join the Big 10?

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Now for the fun part, what team would join the league? Notre Dame is the elephant in the room, but Paterno now wants no part of the Irish in his league. Read more…