CHICAGO – Over the past 30 years, expansion is nothing new for the conference that has its roots in the Midwest.
But it’s safe to say that things over the last decade have really sped up for the Big Ten when it comes to growing their brand.
After Penn State made the conference 11 teams in 1990. Nebraska started a new era of expansion in 2011 when they bolted from the Big 12 to make the league 12 teams. Three years later came an expansion into the Washington DC and New York markets with the additions of Maryland along with Rutgers.
After eight years of remaining that way, the conference created a bit of a college earthquake this summer when they raided the Pac 12 for two of their iconic teams out on the west coast. UCLA and USC are headed to the conference starting with the 2024-2025 academic year, expanding the league to 16 teams while signaling a potentially seismic shift in top-level college athletics.
Where could the Big Ten go next?
That’s a question that is going on right now as the conference now can boast representation from coast to coast, having nabbed schools from all but one of the Power 5 conferences over the past 11 years.
At this point, based on what the league has been able to do to work its way into different markets, anything seems possible when it comes to expansion.
Larry Hawley covered the changing landscape of the Big Ten in this edition of TikTok Sports Talk on WGN News Now. You can watch the entire segment in the video above.