Conference expansion: Latest stuff

A bunch of not-much here, but add it all up, and it almost equals something. Almost.

New York Post links Louisville to SEC

— Lenn Robbins, in a story this morning about the Big East dodging the first expansion bullet, cites one source as saying that SEC expansion could yet hit the Big East. “Sources told The Post that the SEC is considering its own expansion, one that could add Louisville and West Virginia from the Big East and perhaps Clemson, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech from the ACC.” Now, leaving aside that such an expansion would leave the SEC with 17 teams, I’m not buying it. Still, look for yourself … [New York Post report]

Is the Mountain West on the move?

Boise State is announcing that it will join the Mountain West Conference. ESPN.com is reporting, the school’s web site is trumpeting it here. If the Mountain West is making a move, it could mean that more are coming. The Mountain West is in better geographic location to go after the soon-to-be homeless Big 12 schools like Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State, but the Big East would seem to give those a more attractive home for basketball. (Yes, they’re still going to play basketball in Megaconference Land.) Stay tuned.

Virginia Tech is denying an Atlanta radio report that it has had contact with the SEC. David Teel, senior sports columnist for the Daily Press of Newport News, Va., says an email from a spokesman for Virginia Tech’s president called the report “all rubbish. There’s been zero discussion among university leaders on any topic. Just not on radar.” He also got Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver on the phone. Weaver said, “At no time has the Southeastern Conference approached Virginia Tech.” All of which leads me to think, Oh yeah, they’re talking. Definitely. (Kidding. Well, not really.) [Teel Time from Newport News]

But wait, there’s more. After batting the SEC rumors out of the water with Teel, Weaver weighed in on ACC expansion, saying, “I personally believe that the ACC will remain (at 12 members). Expansion just doesn’t make sense unless you can drive the revenue, and personally I don’t believe there’s enough revenue out there to be driven.” Remember that question. We’re going to return to it soon.

Like, right now.

Darren Rovell, who does a nice job of all things sports-business for CNBC, has posted a must-read piece asking the question, “Where does the money come from?” And he asks the one man who might know the most, Barry Frank, executive vice president for IMG Management. Frank has a lot of interesting things to say, but the main thrust is that not all conference additions are equal. Sure, adding Texas brings added TV value to a conference. Adding Texas A&M, not so much? He warns that the Pac-10 might not be the TV heavyweight that it might expect to be. And he absolutely dismisses any thought that the SEC should expand, saying there is no team out there that could add to what it already has. In the end, he suggests that he’s surprised at all the movement, and that some of the revenues they’re hoping for might be fool’s gold. That begins to answer a major question I’ve had — how can these conferences afford to spend $50,000 to televise a volleyball match on a 24-hour cable network, and how do those relatively meager ratings translate to real money over a long term. [CNBC story]

Other items from various media sites, not linked

  • Dallas Morning News says Texas A&M isn’t walking in step with Texas, and is determined to take its time to see if there is an SEC option before going to the Pac-10.
  • In Oklahoma, Sooners QB coach Josh Heupel denied a TV report out of Louisiana that he had received a text message from another coach saying the Sooners were headed to the SEC.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel calls Nebraska and Colorado the biggest cowards in college football. “Both Nebraska and Colorado are running from the Big 12 like a bunch of frightened, cackling hens running from the big, bad wolf,” Bianchi writes. “Let’s be honest here, the Colorado Cowards and Nebraska Corn Chickens are leaving the Big 12 because they can’t compete with Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12.” [Orlando Sentinel]

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