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No more expansion, Big Ten says

The Big Ten will expand to 12 teams when Nebraska joins the conference in June. That, however, will be the extent of the league’s expansion for the “foreseeable future,” the conference announced Sunday in a press release.

The Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors met Sunday in Park Ridge, Ill., and decided that “although the conference will continue to monitor the intercollegiate landscape, it will not be actively engaged in conference expansion for the foreseeable future and does not expect to be proactively seeking new members.”

Last December, the conference announced that it would explore the possibility of adding more teams to the 11 already in the conference. On June 11, Nebraska agreed to leave the Big 12 and join the Big Ten.

Although the Big Ten originally mapped out a 12- to 18-month exploration period, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told The Lantern in September that it was likely finished with expansion.

Smith, however, left open the possibility that other schools would ask to be included in the Big Ten and the conference would listen.

“We’re done with it,” Smith said. “We’re finished. The only thing that would cause us to look at it further is if someone contacted us. So we’re not going to go out and say we’re thinking about expansion.

“We think there are some schools that are going to try to talk to some conferences. But we’re not actively out looking at expansion. After our October meetings, that’s going to be the last we talk about it.”

With the league set on 12 teams, the committee decided “it was appropriate to focus completely on conference affairs at this time,” according to the release.

“We have been thoroughly engaged in the process since last December,” said COP/C chair and Indiana University President Michael McRobbie in the release. “Following detailed discussions at today’s meeting, my colleagues and I can report that we believe that this process has reached its natural conclusion. We are pleased with the addition of Nebraska and look forward to working with our colleagues there in the years ahead.”

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