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St. Thomas professor on the Big Ten expanding again: 'The main driver is football'

The conference announced on Thursday that it will be adding its first West Coast schools in 2024.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — How big is too big for the Big Ten? The conference announced on Thursday they were expanding again.

The Big Ten is getting bigger with the additions of USC and UCLA officially joining the conference in 2024.

The conference will then have 16 teams and a footprint that stretches from the East Coast to the West Coast.

"The whole thing is about media rights and the media rights for football. You'll see some in basketball. The main driver is football and expanding your market nationwide for the Big Ten," said John Wendt, University of St. Thomas Department of Ethics and Business Law Professor Emeritus.

For student-athletes, this will likely cause them to miss more class time with additional travel going from hundreds of miles to thousands of miles as well as shifting game schedules.

"This is going to take it to a whole different level for student-athletes. You can have a situation where you have the in-person meeting with faculty could be decreased by as much as 60 percent a week for certain weeks of the year, that's tough on student-athletes," Wendt said. 

Wendt is also concerned about the future of Olympic sports like swimming ad diving for instance, as well as the costs associated with the addition of West Coast schools.

"It's expensive - this is very expensive. Logistically, I think the word they say is challenging, that's going to be tough," Wendt said.

The Big Ten Conference last expanded back in 2014 when Maryland and Rutgers were added to increase the conference to 14 teams.

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