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Christensen: Will ACC's new TV deal halt Big Ten expansion?

  • Blog Post by: Joe Christensen
  • April 24, 2013 - 11:34 AM

If it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the Big Ten would expand to eventually add more teams besides Rutgers and Maryland -- hold that thought.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told The Sporting News on Tuesday that further expansion is unlikely. There had been speculation that the conference was targeting ACC schools such as North Carolina, Virginia and Georgia Tech.

But this week, the ACC adopted a new TV rights deal that ties all 14 teams and Notre Dame into a revenue sharing agreement through 2026-2027. The deal reportedly forces ACC teams to relinquish TV revenue back to the ACC throughout the 14-year contract if they leave the conference.

Asked if that deal would cement the lineups in the five major conferences -- Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac 12 and Big 12 -- Delany told the Sporting News, "Given everything that has gone on, yes."

Rutgers and Maryland will join the Big Ten in 2014, making it a 14-team conference. In coming days Big Ten presidents and chancellors are expected to scrap the Legends and Leaders divisions and divide into East and West divisions for 2014:

East: Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers

West: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin.

I'm not convinced the Big Ten is finished expanding. The Rutgers and Maryland developments came out of the blue last year. It's possible, for example, the Big Ten could convince Missouri to leave the SEC, which hasn't tied teams to a long-term TV contract. There are other possibilities, too, but at the very least, the ACC deal should cool the rampant speculation for a while.

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