Big Ten to play 9-10 conference games by 2014

The Big Ten is prepared to increase the number of conference games to nine or 10 as early as the 2014 season.

During a meeting Monday of Big Ten coaches and athletic directors in Chicago, commissioner Jim Delany indicated that the conference will not maintain the status quo of eight games. A decision on whether nine or 10 games will be played each season is expected in the spring.

"The thinking is we like to play each other, and those are not hollow words," Delany told the Chicago Tribune. "We are getting larger, and we want to bind the conference together."

Rutgers and Maryland will join the Big Ten in 2014.

Other schedule changes could include more November night games, which Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State want, and an earlier starting date for conference games.

A nine-game schedule would create an imbalance of five Big Ten home games and four on the road each year. Ten conference games would avoid that dilemma, but it also could force schools to cancel some nonconference matchups scheduled years in advance. Schools have additional concerns about keeping seven home games per year to generate revenue.

With Maryland and Rutgers joining the conference, the Big Ten also is considering realignment of its two football divisions based on geography while maintaining rivalries.

The Big Ten made other news Monday when it voiced concerns over new NCAA recruiting rules, scheduled to go into effect in August, that would allow unlimited communication with recruits. Coaches and ADs would like the NCAA to put the changes on hold to allow time for more study.