Tuesday night's "secret" meeting of Colorado regents produced no new expansion news – contrary to some reports Tuesday afternoon, board members insisted CU still doesn't have a formal invitation to join the Pac-10. Instead, they spent most of the executive session discussing a) The legal and financial hurdles of breaking ties with the Big 12 if the expected Pac-10 invite does come, and b) Scholarship losses in football and men's basketball for failing to meet the standards of the NCAA's academic progress rate. The "big announcement" out of Colorado today is that the Buffaloes will be the only major football program and one of only two major men's basketball programs dinged by significant APR penalties.
Fortunately, we have the Omaha World-Herald to fill the gap on anonymously-sourced expansion chatter instead, namely that Nebraska – still reportedly facing a loyalty oath to the Big 12 within a matter of days – could be en route to the Big Ten by the end of the week:
LINCOLN — An executive at a Big 12 school relayed to The World-Herald on Tuesday that he expects Nebraska to become a member of the Big Ten as early as Friday.
Direct confirmation from Nebraska of a conference change for the Huskers wasn't immediately available. Sources at two other Big 12 schools told The World-Herald that their athletic directors have instructed them to be ready by week's end for a briefing on probable Big 12 changes.
Nebraska A.D. Tom Osborne offered implicit confirmation Tuesday night that the timetable on national conference realignment has been accelerated.
Specifically, Osborne predicted in a radio interview that "before too long ... we'll be able to put this to bed," though he also added he wasn't sure "exactly what the time frame is." If the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's source is on the mark about the June 17 deadline for Missouri affirmation of faith to the conference (Nebraska is likely facing the same deadline to state its loyalty) the time frame is probably about a week.
At this point in the process, though, the qualifiers in a sentence like "He expects Nebraska to become a member of the Big Ten as early as Friday" speak as loudly as the blockbuster headlines that would result. (See also the punctuation in the World-Herald's headline: "NU to Big 10 as early as Friday?") Even in back channels, uncertainty, misdirection and outright gamesmanship is running so high that insiders themselves are often working on rumors and their own best guesses about what's going on in other schools and conferences, which may have very different interests than the source.
But if the specifics are still very much in the air, the escalating chatter does serve as confirmation that something big is imminent, whether it's as tidy as Notre Dame joining the Big Ten or the unprecedented nationwide restructuring Nebraska's defection to the Big Ten would portend. If it's a game of musical chairs, all anyone seems to know for certain is that the music is about to stop.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.