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Monday/Tuesday catch-up

May 11, 2010, 12:19 AM EDT

Apologies for the delay on posting today, I had some computer problems that kept me away from all things technology. Let’s get down to business.

* There is finally a “report” out detailing Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s intentions for conference expansion. According to Sports Radio 810 AM in Missouri, the Big Ten has reportedly extended offers to join the conference to four schools — Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers and Notre Dame.

Here’s some of the particulars:

The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league
to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12,
according to multiple sources close to the negotiations. 

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and
chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has
informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would
like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will
expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are
invited in either scenario.  Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the
opportunity to join the Big Ten.  If Notre Dame remains independent,
Rutgers would be the 14th team.  The Big Ten would then decide whether
to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.  If Notre Dame
joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making
it a 16-team league… 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.

I don’t consider AM-810 the New York Times, but I appreciate them going on a limb and getting this thing started. Before ESPN takes this thing and turns it into a monster, let me just give a couple observations.

First off, you’d think the Big Ten Network was printing money the way people are talking about the network. Having watched the channel since its inception, I’m shocked that people are talking about it like its the crown jewel of college football. (Have these people ever actually, well — you know, watched the channel?) Sure, they’re getting subscriber fees from a great base of states, but the reported revenue numbers on the station sure seem like a lot of smoke and mirrors, particularly the commonly accepted fact that the Big Ten Network brings $22 million to each school.

With only a 51 percent ownership stake in the network, there’s a zero percent chance that the network is spitting out the profits to pay 11 teams $20+ million from just their half of the pie, with Fox pocketing another $220 million themselves. As Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune finally discovered, somebody might be cooking the numbers.

The Big Ten has declined to confirm the $22 million. What it has
released is a figure of $220 million ($20 million per school) for 2010
that covers revenue from national television contracts, bowl games, the
NCAA basketball tournament, licensing and the Big Ten Network.

Before people continue to claim that Purdue is making more from the Big Ten Network than Notre Dame is making on their TV deal, it might make sense to start comparing apples to apples. While it makes for a compelling story, the truth is out there somewhere, only Jim Delany doesn’t want anybody to find it. (At least not before his precious landgrab takes place.)

Final thought on the Big Ten Network: If it’s so successful, they need to invest a bit of that money into some actual programming. 

* After only four years, the NCAA is finally ready to to release their decision on penalties for the USC athletic department, as Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel reported on his Twitter account. It seems just about everybody has an opinion on what the Trojans’ punishment should be, but the Los Angeles Times’ Chris Dufresne seems to have the most logical hypothetical I’ve seen, predicting five years probation, a bowl ban for a year, and vacating 21 scholarships.

Will it be the fire and brimstone many of us think is deserved? Probably not. But it’ll effectively end the Trojan dynasty, something the Irish could never do on the football field.

* Finally, to talk a little football to close things up, add another quarterback to the list of potential signal-callers for the Irish next season. reports that top dual-threat quarterback Marquise Williams has listed the Irish in his final five schools along with Michigan, Virginia Tech, LSU, and North Carolina. 

“It’s time to tell the truth and not waste anyone’s time,” Williams told ISD’s Steve Wiltfong.

Wiltfong reports that all of Williams’ favorites have offered, except the Irish, but that’s likely to change come Tuesday when Notre Dame visits his high school this week.

You’ve got to like your chances with a quarterback that’s got you listed in their top five even without an offer. Williams sounds like a dynamic athlete with offers from teams like Florida and LSU, so he’d be a great get and his relationship with Brian Kelly dates back to the Cincinnati days.

  1. TLNDMA - May 11, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    Rutgers, Missouri, Indiana, Northwesten, Minnesota, Illinois, Purdue, Mich St., yep, that sure looks like a “super” conference. Keith don’t forget to add, that the ND contract is for football home games only, they get more money for road games and surely get some Big East money for basketball.
    Missouri and Rutgers aside, I wonder how the people in Nebraska feel about this? Football wise this is the only top team of the three. Do Nebraska fans care that all their long time rivalies will be gone. Do they really want to replace Oklahoma, Colorado, etc. with Minnesota and Illinois?
    This scenario does create some possibilties for more change, TCU and another team to Big12, E.Carolina to Big East, but none are cataclysmic.
    The loss of 21 scholarships for SC would be devastating, It would cetainly give Lane K. a valid excuse for a few less than stellar seasons. It seems that if the penalty is that extreme, the NCAA must have found plenty nof dirt under the rug.

  2. E-Man - May 11, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    The Big-10 Channel does stink. I haven’t seen any of the other conference channels, so maybe it’s par for the course, but if Irish fans who now wait out the summer complaining about a *certain* network’s announcing crew and production, they’re going to be in for a real shock watching ND and a 2-5 Purdue three years from now on the product that is the Big 10 Network.
    I predict that the NCAA won’t be that harsh, because a weak USC for many years will basically drive the Pac-10 and WAC conferences to armagetton, potentially wiping out the NCAA’s stranglehold on CFB. They’ll get off lighter than ND did some 10 years ago.

  3. Shazamrock - May 11, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    What ever happened to college football? 10yrs from now (maybe less) that will be the question. The whole time that I was growing up, every Saturday afternoon, I could turn on the telly to ABC, NBC, or
    CBS, and fine great game after great game. ND vs USC, Michigan vs Ohio St., Alabama vs Florida, or Oklahoma vs Nebraska, just to name a few. They were all free. The NCAA was still in charge. There was Team loyalty, pride, fairness, and sportsmenship. It was NCAA football the way it was supposed to be. An American tradition.
    It’s being taken over now by corporate giants. Media outlets. Cable Networks. The numbers being thrown out there are staggering, like the $220 million referenced in this artical. In truth, it’s probably closer to $500 million when all is said and done.
    Somehow I fine some degree of concern, when professional business is making this kind of monitary gain off of a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds. The company line that they get a free education just doesn’t seem to cut it any more.
    I can see it, in the not so distant future, when game day arrives, the classic rivalry that has been built up all week long, and you sit down in your favorite chair, cold beer and nacho’s in hand, tune in the channel carring the game, only to get a notice saying, please call the provider listed and plunk down $29.95 for todays game.
    In the words of the great college football announcer Keith Jackson….. Oh Nelley!

  4. ugetwutuask4 - May 11, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Big 11 Network sucks it’s included in my Verizon Fios package but I never watch it all it has to offer is campus shows for each university and boring Big Ten’s greatest games! ND must remain independent I’d much rather be able to face teams nationally at different venues across the country than being confined to only recruiting and playing teams in the midwest.
    As for SC all I can say is, “live by the sword die by the sword.”
    Pete Carroll is no fool and got going when the gettin’ was good. On the other end the rivalries not as compelling when SC or ND is not at full strength or hindered by NCAA punishment.
    P.S. bring back Mike Ragone it was a simple mistake and there are worse things that happen across our college campuses for instance the killing on the UVA campus not to mention all the other tragedies that have occured within the past couple of years. Residence Life needs to take a closer look at these cases and lighten up a little on their penalties although I will commend them on the way they handled Mike Floyd’s incident, thank God he wasn’t severely injured or didn’t lose his life even while in that off campus altercation. Although I do feel Ragone should be punished anything more than a 3 or 4 game suspension I think would be unsensible. Being kicked out of school or loss of scholarship would be moronic.

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