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Conferences sometimes get expansion fever

BY BERRY TRAMEL, STAFF WRITER, BTRAMEL@OPUBCO.COM Modified: February 21, 2010 at 12:02 am •  Published: February 21, 2010
For almost half a century, college athletics has experienced periods of multiple conference realignments. We might be entering one of those periods, and here are some of the reasons:

Soon-to-expire TV agreements. The Big Ten Network has created new opportunities and demands for markets and content. Conferences are more cognizant of TV markets than ever before.

Proposed changes to the NCAA Tournament, from 65 to 96 teams. How would those extra slots be accessed? They would mean big money to a conference. Leagues want to be poised to take advantage.

Football championship games. The Pac-10 and Big Ten were late to the table in staging conference basketball tournaments, but eventually they jumped aboard. To do the same thing with football, both must expand.