CHICAGO -- The Big Ten may or may not be finished with expansion, but it's done dreaming about Notre Dame.

            Commissioner Jim Delany said Monday that with the addition of Nebraska next summer, the league has "paused" its consideration of adding more members, pending additional study. But whenever the league decides to consider expansion again, it will move on without the Irish.

            "I don't see them as a major player anymore, really," Delany said in addressing the conference's annual media gathering. "I think (Notre Dame athletic director) Jack Swarbrick has been consistent from the beginning about their commitment to the Big East, and their commitment to independence" in football.

            The league's investigation of further expansion will proceed anyway, Delany said, and remains on the 12- to 18-month timeframe that he originally announced last December, a plan that was sped up when the Big 12 demanded a decision from Nebraska in the spring.

            If more expansion does happen, at least one interested observer has a suggestion.

            "I'd like to see some teams from the East," Penn State coach Joe Paterno said. "There may be some things that we can get in the Big Ten from our association with more than one place and school that could help out."

            Paterno declined to identify his favorites, saying he would "leave that in the hands" of Delany and the league's presidents. But the Big Ten was widely reported to have considered Syracuse, Connecticut and Rutgers before inviting Nebraska.


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