Another Big Ten Team Doesn't Make Sense

Ryan DietzContributor IDecember 15, 2009

CHICAGO - MARCH 11:  The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate as they are presented with the trophy by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany (C, w/microphone) following Ohio St.'s 66-49 win against the Wisconsin Badgers during the Final of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Conference Tournament March 11, 2007 at the United Center in Chiago Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Big Ten Conference is greedy. 

Nothing new or ground breaking about that. That's why it's no surprise the eleven university presidents and chancellors issued a statement Tuesday about how they will evaluate adding another team to the conference.

Let's not sugarcoat it, gentlemen. This is about money. They will look at how much another team and thus, a football championship game will bring to the table, which will equal several million dollars of tickets, merchandise, sponsors, and television rights. 

What the Big Ten will also find out is that they could also lose money. The Big Ten, right now, is almost guaranteed to get two teams into the Bowl Championship Series each year.

This year, those teams are Ohio State and Iowa. Penn State was close. Other conferences are not necessarily in the same boat that the Big Ten is. Those BCS games bring money in for the universities as well, which is split up in an undisclosed way. This is one reason why it isn't logical for another team to join.

The next reason is pretty obvious.  What team fits into the most storied and historic conference in the country, not only in football, but also in basketball? Notre Dame is the ideal fit, but the Irish are more than happy in the Big East in basketball, the premier conference for the sport.  

They would also be reluctant and probably stupid to join the Big Ten when they can be the cash cow they are right now.  They can go to any bowl they want for the most part and they have a multi-million dollar television deal with NBC (not sure how Comcast will fit into this).

On top of that, provided new head coach Brian Kelly does what he expects, playing the difficult schedule they do (which they wouldn't be able to do in the Big Ten) could catapult the Irish into the National Championship just by strength of schedule and voting alone. 

What other team fits? The Big Ten prides itself on academic and athletic excellence, and remember the prideful and elitist views the leaders and alumni of the universities in the Big Ten have.  West Virginia? Missouri? Pittsburgh? Iowa State? Nebraska? Do any of those fit into the same academic mold as Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois? 

It's the right thing for the leaders of the Big Ten to look at.  Commissioner Jim Delany said recently he didn't like the idea of expansion, and now he might be changing his mind as he sits in his fat cat office in Park Ridge, IL, counting the dollars that come in and seeing money signs when he watches the Big 12 or SEC championship games. 

It might be the right thing for the conference to look at, but it's not the right thing to do if the conference goes after the money rather than sticking to its roots of academic success and tradition.