Translating Commissioner Comments on Expansion

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney:

"We have not accelerated anything... We'll work with our athletic directors and our presidents. If there's a need to have formal discussions about expansion with another institution, we'll reach out. But we're still in the process of analyzing and gathering information, and we're not anywhere near what I would describe as formal expansion discussions with any member. We haven't changed anything, neither the timetable nor the process that was described."

Translation: I'm enjoying being in the spotlight, so why in the world would I want to accelerate the expansion process? I feel like the king of college football right now. I'm going to milk this for all its worth.

Furthermore, do you know how difficult it is to negotiate with cable and satellite providers on anything? It's a real pain. Now imagine negotiating with them over hypotheticals. I'd almost rather be photographed wearing an "SEC Rules!" t-shirt than keep this up.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive:

"Given the success the SEC has experienced over the past decade, we are very comfortable with the position in which we find ourselves today. Having said that, if there is going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure that it maintains its position as one of the nation's pre-eminent conferences."

Translation: Hey! Look over here! The Big Ten isn't the alpha dog of college football. The SEC is. All of you out there are paying too much attention to Delaney. You should pay attention to me some now.

Thank you. Now that you're listening to me, I want you to know that we in the SEC are dead serious about this expansion game. Of course, we'd like to keep things as they are if possible. The status quo is good. We love the status quo. We probably won't make a change if we don't have to. But we are dead serious about expansion. Really. Believe me.

Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott:

Meanwhile, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said his conference should decide by year's end -- before it begins its next round of television negotiations -- whether it will expand. If it does, Scott said, the conference will use the "Noah's Ark philosophy, two-by-two."

Translation: What happens out east doesn't affect me much because none of my expansion targets are threats to go to the Big Ten. Also I'm going to use a cutesy phrase to get people to talk about me and my conference too, even though no one ever thought we would add just one team and call it a day.

Big East Commissioner John Marinatto:

"I learn so much talking to [Jim Delaney], listening to him. He’s schooling me in the way I need to think in this business...

"Who is to say we couldn’t go to 20 teams in basketball, but not have one 20-team league, but a league with pods of four or five teams?’ You have to think strategic alliances — what strategic alliances could we create?

"Why couldn’t we do something with Notre Dame in football, where they aren’t a member but they schedule groups of teams in our conference [which is already being done]? Why couldn’t we do more with television, and have a Big East television network [similar to the Big Ten’s highly successful operation]?"

Translation: Jim Delaney is playing me like a fiddle. I am considering destroying my conference by adding even more basketball teams, which would then let the Big Ten scoop up some of the pieces without the current $5 million per team fee and 27-month waiting period.

I also believe I can work out a deal with Notre Dame that would end its image of being completely independent as a football program. And hey, while we're at it, let's start a TV network despite the fact that football drives the bus when it comes to college sports on TV and my lineup in that sport is small and mediocre. I am in over my head as a commissioner and might have lost touch with reality.

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe:

"My understanding is that they are still on the same timetable that he outlined," the Big 12’s commissioner, Dan Beebe, said. He said jokingly that he put Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany in a headlock to make him talk, and added, "He’s a straight shooter and I think he’ll follow the plan that he set down." ...

"It would be negligent for me not to be concerned."

Translation: I am feeling secure enough in my job that I can joke about the situation, but I'm no fool. I realize I have very little power in this whole expansion situation, so I'm going to play the diplomat and try not to say or do anything to make Delaney mad.

MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson:

"It has made for some anxious moments for everybody. You just don't know."

If the Pac-10 expands and the Big 12 has to look for replacements, my conference's chances at an automatic BCS bid are toast.

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