Expansion talk is all the rage again in the college sports world with Texas and Oklahoma set to join the SEC. This has the Big 12 Conference on shaky ground and people speculating how the Big Ten and other Power 5 conferences will respond. It might be time to tap the brakes a bit.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports said Monday there is very little interest from the Big Ten currently to explore its options to expand. The rumors that Ohio State and Michigan could be lured away by a Super Conference pitch is also false, as they are on secure footing inside the Big Ten.
As discussed on Podcast, hearing little to no interest in expansion from Big 10 sources. No need to make a move. There is talk of a scheduling agreement with Pac 12 (rotation of non-con games). No, Ohio State/Michigan aren't leaving.— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) July 26, 2021
The interesting part in Wetzel’s Tweet is the idea of a potential scheduling agreement with the Pac-12. That could mean a rotating slot with a Pac-12 opponent in everyone’s non-conference schedule. If expansion is off the table, that could be a solid way for both sides to solidify their standing.
The Big Ten’s payout to its member schools is currently around $54 million per season, which makes it the most lucrative Power 5 conference. The value added to the SEC with Texas and Oklahoma joining could push them to the top spot, but that might not kick off an arms race like some are hoping. Unless the Big Ten was able to grab a USC or Notre Dame, there are likely not many options available out there to value to counter what the SEC is about to do.
The Big Ten’s television contract is up in 2023 and projects to be massive. Given the Big Ten and Pac-12’s ties to FOX, some sort of agreement between those two might make the most sense. Expansion might be in the cards if the Big 12 folds completely, as the remaining eight schools will need a place to go.
These are fascinating and transformative times in college sports, but they might not result in many more massive changes in the short term. Things could move rapidly, and the Big Ten will explore its options, but there is no logical move on paper at the present moment.