A note on the Big Ten expansion vote

Several of you have asked about the voting process for Big Ten expansion, and I have an answer for you.

According to the Big Ten's bylaws, an institution first must apply for admission to the league's Council of Presidents/Chancellors. The COP/C then votes, and it takes 70 percent of the council, or eight of the 11 members, to approve the candidate for admission to the league. So a candidate doesn't need to earn a unanimous vote to be admitted to the Big Ten, as is the case in the Pac-10.

Since the Big Ten has accelerated its push for expansion, a vote or votes on expansion candidates could take place in early June during the league's meeting of presidents and chancellors. Remember that because a vote takes place after an institution applies for admission, the COP/C only votes on institutions that want to be part of the Big Ten.

Here's a step-by-step outline of how the process could work:

  • Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and the league's presidents and chancellors meet in Washington, site of the Association of American Universities spring meets, to discuss expansion candidates. Delany then would inform Michigan State president Lou Anna K. Simon, chair of the COP/C, that the league intends to begin formal discussions with candidates.

  • Delany attends BCS meetings Tuesday-Thursday in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he could notify commissioners of the affected leagues or Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick of the Big Ten's intentions. The Big Ten doesn't want to tamper with institutions before informing their conference commissioners.

  • The courting process begins between the Big Ten and expansion candidates (for some, it wouldn't take much).

  • The Big Ten holds its meetings of coaches (football, men's basketball, women's basketball) and athletic directors on May 17-19 in Chicago, where expansion will continue to be discussed.

  • An institution or multiple institutions formally apply for Big Ten membership. The COP/C votes in early June and the league officially expands.

Needless to say, it's an exciting time in the Big Ten, so stay tuned.