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Delany: We're 'not turning our back on expansion'

CHICAGO - The expansion silence is finally over.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany revealed Monday that the conference has paused its conference expansion initiatives right now, but is "not necessarily turning our back on expansion."

Right now the focus is acclimating Nebraska into the conference, but he is still following the original 12-18 month expansion study period he implemented last winter.

One team you can cross off the expansion list is Notre Dame

"I don’t see them as a player really," he said. "I see them as an independent."

Delany also said he hopes to have divisions, a conference championship game and television deal for the championship decided in the next 30 to 45 days. He said the first championship game will happen in December of 2011 but the site is still unknown. It is possible they will announce the site of the first game this fall and then do a more thorough search for championship sites in the spring.

Also, don’t expect to see the conference change its name.

"The Big Ten is the Big Ten regardless of the number (of teams)," he said.

One thing you can expect in the coming years is a nine-game conference schedule. He said he has a consensus from the athletic directors and it could happen three to four years from now.