In an era of conference expansion and realignment, the Big Ten has done well protecting its interests, Harvey Perlman said Tuesday.
In that regard, the Nebraska chancellor said the Big Ten essentially was being proactive in expanding to 14 teams with the additions of Maryland on Monday and Rutgers on Tuesday.
"After the recent realignment when the ACC took Pittsburgh and Syracuse (and Boston College), the ACC appeared to be trying to consolidate the entire East Coast, and I don't think that would have been good for us," he said.
So, in addition to entry into New York and mid-Atlantic cable markets, Rutgers and Maryland give the Big Ten geographic protection.
Perlman and his fellow Big Ten chancellors and presidents voted unanimously for the inclusion of the two universities. He said he doesn't foresee the conference expanding again "in the immediate future." The first order of business is integrating the new members, he said.
"But you never know what external conditions will force us to do something else," he said.
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Rutgers and Maryland fit the Big Ten well academically, Perlman said. Both are flagship universities in their respective states (Rutgers is in New Jersey). Both are land-grant institutions. Both are "very solid" academically, he said.
Perlman said Big Ten presidents/chancellors "absolutely" gave commissioner Jim Delany academic parameters to ensure prospective members align with the current membership. He said those parameters aren't necessarily stated explicitly.
However, "(Delany) fully understands we have to be comfortable with the academic quality of the institutions that are coming in," Perlman said.
Perlman said he's comfortable with the Big Ten's current group of members and isn't anxious to add schools. The larger a conference grows, the fewer times schools compete against each other, which runs contrary to why you join a conference in the first place, he said.
He also understands there could be positives to further expansion.
"My own instinct is, I don't want it to get so big that we don't get to play everybody once in a while," he said. "I could certainly live with 16 members. It depends on the circumstances. It depends on what's happening in the marketplace."