It's pretty obvious: The Big Ten is embarrassed by the Penn State scandal. It should be, and it is.
Jim Delany isn't the type of man to sit idly by and accept embarrassment.
Thus, among the many reforms currently under consideration from the Big Ten (which include giving Delany firing power over individuals in member athletic departments) is a vote to expel Penn State from the conference altogether.
Big Ten leaders are considering a series of proposals in an 18-page plan prompted by the current situation at Penn State. Among the ideas being thrown around include removing the university from the conference.
Currently, the league’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors must approve any decision to suspend, expel, or place any member on probation. The Big Ten handbook requires at least a 60 percent vote for expulsion, though a Big Ten spokesperson told the Chronicle that number will increase to 70 percent (or, eight members) for 2012-13.
CFT says the likelihood of such a vote passing is "unlikely," which is probably right.
As a football program, Penn State has been a valuable addition to the Big Ten, both financially and in terms of overall strength. Assuming the program survives whatever the NCAA throws at it, it would be wise for the Big Ten to maintain a relationship with the school.
Should the Big Ten expel Penn State?
But that's quite an assumption these days, to think that Penn State's football program will survive. The school could face massive sanctions from bodies even bigger than the Big Ten. The NCAA, for example, seems plenty eager to explore what punishments are at its disposal—up to and including removal from the NCAA itself.
Additionally, Penn State's apparent non-compliance with federal law (specifically the Clery Act) could have major ramifications on the very accreditation of the school itself.
Thus, there's definitely some cause for consternation from the Big Ten, worries that go well beyond the football field—especially considering the fact that the alleged cover-up has taken place for a literal majority of Penn State's tenure in the conference.
That, to the Big Ten, is undeniably embarrassing, and remember what we said about Delany and embarrassment.
So, Big Ten: Put this thing to a vote. Not today, not this week, not before a great deal of due diligence on the part of the Big Ten and the NCAA and everyone else. So probably not even before the end of the upcoming season.
But if it's really the case after close consideration of the scandal that eight of the other 11 members of the Big Ten don't want Penn State around anymore and want it removed, that's more than enough to say Penn State's time as a member has run its course.