Big Ten Athletics
Two-Minute Drill: Gene Smith Talks B1G Expansion
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was a big day at Ohio State.
Urban Meyer and his players held their media day for Michigan week, as the Buckeyes prepare to enter “The Game” with an unblemished 11-0 record for the first time since 2006.
Ohio State will also unveil the team’s alternate Nike uniforms for the Michigan game during a pep rally at the student union tonight. In between, director of athletics Gene Smith took some time to talk about the Big Ten’s addition of Maryland, which was formally announced on Monday.
* Smith said Maryland was on the board when they started expansion talks back in 2009.
* Smith praised the "rich tradition" of Maryland athletics. Call them "a great addition to our conference."
* Smith said the decision to add Maryland will help them financially with the Big Ten Network. Will also help the conference financially by opening new markets on the East Coast.
* Smith said addition of Maryland "rises all ships" in the Big Ten Conference.
* Smith said they felt like Penn State needed some "neighbors" and the Big Ten needed to expand its footprint.
* Smith said Maryland's academics and basketball tradition outweighed the lack of a football-rich tradition.
* Smith: "We knew at some point we might have to expand, and Maryland was available."
* Smith doesn't think the Big Ten staying at 12 would have stabilized things across college football.
* Smith said this expansion really started to come together three months ago, but could have fallen apart this morning.
What Does it Mean?
* Smith said Gordon Gee was "giddy" about the decision to approve Maryland as the newest B1G member.
* Smith said he had no real concerns with adding Maryland because there were no major travel concerns.
* Smith: "We are, in my view, the premier league in this country, from a number of different views."
* Smith wouldn’t comment on the rumored addition of Rutgers as well, but it’s believe that announcement could come as early as Tuesday.
* Smith said the Big Ten AD's have not discussed the realignment of the divisions, so it's all speculation right now.
* Smith believes the Big Ten could get back to looking at a 9-game conference schedule for football.
* Smith said he made those future decisions about Ohio State's non-conference schedules without this expansion in mind.
* Smith asked if he would change the names of the B1G divisions, "I'm not touching that one."
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