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First Domino Falling: Is Big Ten Expansion Under Way?

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Depending on who or what you believe, it seems as if the Big Ten is in fact headed on the path toward creating a 14-or-16 team superconference that could potentially reshape the landscape of college athletics. No, I don't mean to exaggerate, but Big Ten expansion, in theory, would cause a domino effect that would send ripple effects across college football, forcing other conferences such as the SEC and Pac-10 to match the moves made by the Big Ten, a conference that even despite its strong TV revenue has been anything but top-notch when it comes to on the field results.

Nonetheless, according to SportsByBrooks and Kansas City radio personality Kevin Kietzman, reports indicate that the Big Ten has officially extended Missouri an invitation to join the conference along with Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Rutgers. However, at the same time, there are fewer details regarding the status of the latter three schools. But in the meanwhile, here are the details regarding Mizzou. Here's Klietzman's account via SportsByBrooks:

In order for the University of Missouri to join the Big Ten, the Missouri Board of Regents will still have to approve the move. Sources close to the governing body say the Big Ten has told officials that Mizzou could add $1.3 million per month in revenue to the lucrative Big Ten Television Network.

Big Ten representatives have also told Missouri officials they would like to have the entire expansion process wrapped up this summer with a formal announcement coming no later than July.

(Missouri) will have to pay a stiff penalty to leave the Big 12. The Big 12 charter states any member will lose between 50 and 100 percent of its shared annual revenue depending on the length of notice any school gives. According to sources, it seems likely Missouri would give one- year notice.

It is projected that Missouri's football revenues would increase by $10 million or more per year when it joins the Big Ten versus what it currently receives in the Big 12.

It's hard for me to sit here and judge the validity of his claim regarding Missouri's potential jump to the Big Ten. After all, as a simple fan, I honestly have no idea what's going on behind the scenes. But in the big picture, this does make some sense. We've been hearing for months how likely it is that the Big Ten will add teams from the Big Twelve and/or the Big East. So all in all, the addition of Missouri, Nebraska, Rutgers, and possible even Notre Dame, would in theory be a logical step.

While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join.

It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario. Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.

If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team. The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools. If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.

During the first week of June, all Big Ten chancellors and presidents will meet to discuss the expansion issue further for whatever that means.

In case you're asking....

Why is Big Ten expansion so crucial?

Because if the Big Ten becomes a mega-conference than the next logical step is for the SEC to raid the Big Twelve and possibly even the ACC or Big East for more members in order to create a 16-team conference with a TV network similar to that of the Big Ten. If that situation were told unfold, you'd have to think that the Pac-10 would also look to expand as well.

Get the picture? It's a domino effect that could make a serious impact on all of college sports. It can be excessive to sit around propose all sorts of crazy scenarios. But in the end, it is important to realize that the concept of having Big Ten, SEC, and Pac-10 super-conferences is absolutely not out of reach.