After a major flare up in the conference realignment talks a little over a week ago Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany publicly pushed the timeline back to the right yesterday.
One area where Delany remained unequivocal was the expansion timetable. The December announcement of 12 of 18 months stands, he said Tuesday.
"It continues to be roughly 12 to 18 months," Delany said. "Could it be 19 months? I hope not. Could it be 11? It may."
That runs contrary to some media reports that suggested an announcement could happen soon, or at least in early summer.
"There have been a lot of reports that have been premature," Delany said. "That would be a kind way to describe some of the reports."
And don’t bother looking for answers at the Big Ten meeting of presidents.
"I don’t think there will be any earth-shattering moments on June 6," Delany said.
I saw this on Barking Carnivalyesterday and restrained myself from having a quick reaction. After chewing on it for a day I ultimately came to the conclusion that this is a good thing. In case it wasn’t obvious enough in my other posts I have two primary concerns in all of this. The most obvious is that as a Notre Dame fan I would personally prefer that Notre Dame remain independent. I also hope the Big 12 survives.
As a guy that grew up in Texas we watched ND, the SWC and the Big 8 at our house. So I have a natural soft spot for the Big 12 schools and like that they are all together. I would rather not see them end up in the Big Ten, Pac 10 and wherever else in pieces and parts. This realignment could end up being major or minor and I expect the fate of the Big 12 to be the determining factor.
So when the napalm got dropped on the realignment talk last week I got a little concerned. My biggest fear in all of this is that one of the power players gets jumpy and makes a move that causes a massive ripple effect. Think of any crazy movie shootout. The scene at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone and the scene at the end of True Romance come to mind. It doesn’t have to go down like that. If everyone can just calmly put the guns down there is most likely a better solution. But as soon as one guy gets jumpy and squeezes a round off it all goes to hell from there. That is cool in the movies, but not so cool when it might torpedo college football as we know it.
With Delany publicly stating that this is not going to get resolved until next year at the earliest it gives all the players a chance to take a step back and think a little bit. Most importantly this buys time for the Big 12 to get their house in order. With a little marriage counseling the Big 12 might still come out of this looking much like they do today. The potential TV deal between the B12 and Pac 10 could go a long way towards smoothing that over. With a less compact timeline that deal can potentially get ironed out and put all of the conference members at ease about their financial future. For those interested in the full Big 12 perspective both Barking Carnival and Better off Red have several insightful posts on the subject.
On the Notre Dame end Father Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick get a little more time to see how things shake out. The smaller the overall seismic shift the easier the decision to remain independent. It also gives BK a chance to put a better product on the field & the AD a chance to finish shoring up future schedules.
While no official B10 offer may ever come I am certain the B10 would take ND at the drop of a hat. So I see that as an open door at least until realignment is complete and perhaps even afterward.
Former Notre Dame defensive end and current Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith had this pitch for the Irish.
"I love them, love them deeply. The things I enjoy in life are because of my experiences there. So my feelings run deep," Smith said. "I have always struggled with the quality of experience today, in this landscape, for a football player.
"If they end up being one of the (invited) schools I hope they would consider what a football conference championship means to a young person. I’ve got to believe that Notre Dame winning a conference championship and having a conference ring would be a memorable experience."
For the time being stand by to stand by. Is it Sept 4th yet?