Glass talks Big Ten expansion, addition of Maryland, Rutgers

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Conference expansion and realignment have changed college athletics significantly.

And whether you are a fan of what has taken place or oppose the breakdown in tradition brought about by these changes, the Big Ten has been ahead of the curve.

With the conference reportedly paying out close to $26 million to each member institution in the last fiscal year, including $7.6 million from the Big Ten Network, it’s not hard to see why schools like Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers opted to leave their respective leagues to join.

The Big Ten is distributing the most money of any conference to its members and with the growth of BTN and network TV contracts, the numbers should only continue to grow.

While the ultimate decisions on expansion are handled at the presidential level, the Indiana athletic department plays a key role in advising President Michael McRobbie.

In a conversation last week in his office that overlooks Memorial Stadium, Fred Glass spoke to Inside the Hall about IU’s role in the expansion process, the potential for future expansion and the additions of Maryland and Rutgers, who will join the league next fall.

“The athletic departments are a little like the working group,” Glass said. “They’ll sort through things and take a recommendation to the presidents and I think it’s highly unlikely that the athletic directors would agree on something that the presidents wouldn’t ultimately adopt.”

Glass was quick to point out that consensus amongst conference members is important in any discussions on expansion, which makes the role of each institution a significant one in the overall process.

“I think the view of the conference is and the view of the commissioner is, we’re not going to go that way unless there is basically a consensus view that we should do that,” he said. “We’re not going to expand on a 7-to-5 vote or I guess now it’d be a 8-to-6 vote when those two new schools come in. It’s going to be pretty much everyone thinks this is a good idea.

“So I tell you all that because I think our role is pretty significant because I think it’s certainly possible that if everyone was for it and we were against it or if everyone was for it and Minnesota was against it or if everyone was for it and Penn State was against it, it may not happen. And certainly if two or three institutions were against an expansion, I don’t think it would happen.”

There’s been little news on expansion since April, when the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) announced that its members had agreed to a grant of rights, leaving the SEC as the only major conference without such an agreement.

The lack of recent movement, however, doesn’t mean that the Big Ten or the IU athletic department have moved the issue off of the radar completely.

“That’s one of the more important things we’ve been working on is expansion. Whether we continue to expand, I don’t know. I can tell you that there’s no active efforts to identify partners to expand with,” Glass said. “But having said that, I think 16 (members) might be a bit of a sweet spot and if two high caliber academic and athletic institutions applied for membership, my guess is, if they met our criteria of being academically excellent and hopefully geographically contiguous, although I’m not sure if that’s completely critical, my guess is we’d do that.”

The Big Ten will grow by two members late next summer as Maryland arrives from the ACC and Rutgers, a former member of the Big East, arrives after a one-year stint in the American Athletic Conference (AAC).

Glass says he’s excited to welcome both schools into the conference.

“I think they’re terrific additions. They’re public research universities, they’re members of the AAU (Association of Academic Universities), they check all of the boxes on the academic side, which is really important to the presidents and it’s important to the athletic directors as well,” he said. “While they’re fairly far flung geographically, they are contiguous to our Big Ten footprint. So for us to go from the eastern seaboard to the plains or close to the mountains is a nice area to dominate, so I like that part of it, too.”

There could be benefits for Indiana basketball as well as the Hoosier staff has placed an emphasis on recruiting the east coast. Those efforts should only be strengthened by the addition of Maryland and Rutgers, which are both located in fertile recruiting ground.

“Selfishly for Indiana I think they’re great because Tom has been doing terrific recruiting that eastern corridor, Washington D.C., New York, New Jersey and for us to be out there on a regular basis and the Big Ten Network, presumably, will expand in that area, I think it will be good for our recruiting,” Glass said. “I think we’re a little bit ahead of the game because we’ve been working that area already.”

  • marcusgresham

    Don’t they play football in the MAC?

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Good to know, I stand corrected

  • E Foy McNaughton

    The way I would design it would never fly with NCAA as currently constituted. I would allow players to declare and be drafted by NBA teams. Then allow the NBA team to decide to either call the player up or let them play at the college. If not called up by, say July 15, then they have to stay at the school until the spring semester classes are over. Also, the NBA team must pick up the scholarship cost. It’s unusual – will not happen – but would be a win / win / win for the NBA / NCAA / players drafted.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Agreed – no way they leave the SEC for the ACC. KU also wouldn’t want to play a B1G conf schedule. The only real threat to beat them annually in the SEC is Florida. In the B1G there would be an annual threat with IU, MSU, OSU, and MU. And Cal has a goal of winning 40, that would NEVER happen in the B1G.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Typo UK, not KU

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Good list!

  • vjp81955

    Just so you know, barring a Big Ten double this winter, Maryland would become the most recent member of the B1G to win an NCAA title in both men’s (2002) and women’s (2006) basketball.

    Then again, perhaps this Terp fan should go to the Purdue board to bring up women’s hoops…

  • vjp81955

    You really don’t want Connecticut, believe me. Let the Huskies twist in the wind in the AAC.

  • a2sk

    I lived in NY state for a long time. UB is part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, which has 64 campuses around the state. In state, these campuses are referred to as SUNY Buffalo or SUNY Binghampton, etc. The Buffalo campus has adopted the formal name “University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.” I can assure you that it will *NEVER* be referred to as “New York University” or “NYU” which is a completely separate private university in Manhattan founded in 1831 and with over 50,000 students, and which is much more well-known academically and in the arts.

  • Bull Run

    Go look at some gameday programs from the 60′s right after UB joined the SUNY system… They tried it then but the conditions for a rebrand are better now.

    UB is the largest most comprehensive and best endowed university in the New York System. ONly Stony Brook is even close (and they are 15 years behind us)

    This rebrand could work.

  • Brave

    I think the conf missed some opportunities. Should have grabbed Mizzou & a school like KU at same time it took Neb. Then if getting to 16 was really important adding whichever 2 eastern corridor teams were best would be fine to round things out. Now it just kind of BLAH…

  • Seth

    My interpretation of those comments is if KU applied for membership in the B1G, then they would get in. Academic fit? Check – fellow member of the AAU ; Geography? Check – Contiguous to Nebraska and relatively close to Iowa; Media market? Check – K.C. is L.A. or NYC, but it is still a decent-sized television market; Athletics? Check – Sure football still leaves a little to be desired *cough, Indiana, cough*, but basketball still is (and forever will be) a blue blood program that would compete for conference championships from day one, and give the B1G a national championship contender as well.

  • DisabledVeteran

    The ACC will be non existent in 10 years after Virginia and NC defect to the B1G.

  • Ekim

    I don’t mind the addition of Rutgers and Maryland but maybe the Big 10 should consider dropping perennial losers Illinois and Indiana. They’d probably do better in the Mid America Conference where the competition would be more favorable.

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