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College football expansion took another sharp turn when USC and UCLA announced they would join the Big Ten in 2024.
But it doesn’t look like that conference is done yet.
Since that news broke, a total of 10 other schools have reached out informally to discuss joining the Big Ten, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While no formal requests or offers to join have been made by these schools or the Big Ten, the reason is only clear enough.
College football is a business, after all
“Money is everything now,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said, via WSJ. “The disparity is so huge and that’s what is driving all of it.”
The report didn’t divulge the identity of those 10 schools, but it’s a safe guess they are currently members of the Pac-12 and arguably of the ACC.
Since the latest expansion, reports have circulated that Oregon, Washington, Stanford, Arizona, and Arizona State would entertain joining the new-look Big Ten.
State legislatures in Oregon and Washington could move to avoid those schools leaving, however, with reports that lawmakers are considering legislation that would require publicly funded universities in their states to compete in the same conference.
The Notre Dame Factor
While the Big Ten has its list of suitors, one school remains out of reach, and it’s the one school the conference would accept in a heartbeat: Notre Dame.
“The Big Ten would take them today, tomorrow, five years from now, ten years from now,” a conference commissioner said, via WSJ. “You would go to numbers that just stink for building schedules to add Notre Dame.”
But does Notre Dame need the Big Ten? Or any conference?
ND cherishes its football independence, and believes it can stay that way thanks to its contract with NBC and what it regards as a still-viable path to the College Football Playoff.
But if the school should feel it’s losing either of those, anything would seem to be possible.
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