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Big Ten quashes rumors of extensions to four teams

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany e-mailed conference officials Tuesday to stamp out a rumor that four schools had already been offered a chance to join the league.

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Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed Tuesday that Delany had quashed a report that the Big Ten had offered expansion spots to Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame and Rutgers.

Asked if there was anything to that speculation, Smith said, "Nothing. There's no truth to it whatsoever. Actually, Jim sent us all an e-mail telling us there's no truth to that -- which we knew. There's no extensions of offers that have been made, so that's not true."

The conference is looking at expanding from its current 11 members so that it can extend the reach of its lucrative cable network and add a league championship game in football.

The Big Ten athletic directors will meet May 17-19 in Chicago. They will be joined by faculty representatives, senior women's administrators and the head coaches in football and men's and women's basketball. Smith said nothing would be decided in terms of expansion at the meetings.

"This is our normal meetings, the ones we have every year," Smith said. "Jim (Delany) will probably give us an update on what the consultant has shared, and I don't even know if the consultant report is done. He'll give us an update and then move on doing what he's been doing. I think they meet with the (university) presidents in June or something like that. So the timeline hasn't changed, but there won't be any action next week."

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