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Big Ten Extends Invitations to Four Schools... Maybe?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 11, 2010 4:00PM

bigten_14.gif Reports surfaced Monday afternoon, originating from a Kansas City radio station, that the Big Ten Conference has extended invitations to four schools to join the conference. The Big Ten quickly denied these reports, with commissioner Jim Delany stated that the conference remains committed to the 12-18 month process outlined earlier this year.

According to the news reported by WHB-AM/810, the four schools extended offers are Notre Dame, Missouri and Nebraska with Rutgers the "Plan B" should Notre Dame choose to remain independent. Such a scenario would bring the Big Ten to 14 teams. Other possibilities mentioned recently suggest schools like Maryland and Syracuse to bring the conference to 16 teams.

If the Big Ten has approached Notre Dame or plans to do so, will this be the point where the school finally gives up its independence? Many of the questions the Trib's Teddy Greenstein recently answered revolved around the Fighting Irish. While alumni are staunchly against the idea of the Golden Domers joining a league, the likely conference shake-out after the Big Ten expands could force their hand anyway. The Big East might be on the ropes after a Big Ten pillage, and they league could give ND an ultimatum as a last gasp ploy to stay relevant -- play football in the Big East or move the rest of your sports out, which would be a scheduling nightmare for all the lesser Irish athletic programs. Under such a scenario, it seems that the Fighting Irish would be better served to sign on with the Big Ten. While Greenstein places the odds of Notre Dame joining an expanded Big Ten at 15 percent, we're going to say it's more likely than that.