Long-time Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston says he has reason to believe that the Big Ten conference is considering the University of Connecticut as a possible expansion candidate and argues in favor of that approach. Alternatively, he supports a “raid the Big 12” scheme that would add Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska to the Big Ten.
I don’t know who Livingston’s sources are, but adding UConn to the conference doesn’t do much for me, separate and apart from my general opposition to any expansion. Their football team is not very good, and their football facilities don’t really compare to those in the Big Ten. (The Huskies play in Rentschler Field, which seats only 40,000.) Although I think Jim Calhoun is a fine basketball coach, I’m not sure basketball really should factor much into the equation. We can be pretty confident that money is the big driver, and it isn’t clear to me what kind of TV markets or TV revenues Connecticut would bring. Do significant numbers of people in New York City and Boston really follow Connecticut football? Maybe so, but I’m skeptical.