Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Big Ten Expansion Talk

At a downtown Chicago hotel, the focus of the college athletic world centered on a bunch of coaches, faculty reps and athletic directors. The reason for the attention is the recent talk of the Big Ten on expansion, the first since Penn State joined the league in the early 90s. National writers joined the school's beat reporters for a chance to get a quote from Commissioner Delaney or one of the famed head coaches of a nation's elite programs. Hovering in the swanky hotel lobby, reporters on laptops joined local tv station cameramen for any comment or response on where the Big Ten is heading.

Among those who caught the media's attention was Northwestern Football Coach, Pat Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald works the Windy City media scene hard. In a sports town which follows the Bulls, Bears, White Sox, Cubs and Stanley Cup Semi-fianlist Blackhawks, Fitzgerald works hard to get his Wildcats into the media headlines. When he isn't promoting his University through a Chicago media outlet, he works the current social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to connect to the computer savvy youth. He'll do whatever it takes, but a crowd that surrounded him on this May morning was more interested in his take of a potential super-conference rather than how the 'Cats will fare coming off their first New Year's Day bowl in almost fifteen years. Fitzgerald knows that as long as his face is in front of the camera, or his comments reach the newspapers and their web sites, what ever the topic, it is good for Northwestern Football.
Michigan football coach, Rich Rodriguez had more to talk about than Big Ten expansion. A day after news hit that self-imposed sanctions would be made on his football program due to NCAA regulated contact hours, Rodriguez had to face the media for the first time. Although the Wolverines haven't been to a bowl under the two years of Rodriguez, the attention to the Michigan program doesn't wane. Reporters hung on every word, and Rodriguez was among the most accomodating of all coaches to the media.

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