College conferences ponder expansion and extinction

With the 11 Football Bowl Subdivision conference commissioners gathering in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Tuesday for the annual Bowl Championship Series meetings, the prospect of significant change in the collegiate conference landscape is becoming increasingly likely.

The central player is the Big Ten, which, as The Chicago Tribune reported over the weekend, has moved up its timetable for expanding. Prominent conference and university officials met on Sunday in Washington to discuss the subject.

The scope of that expansion, along with Notre Dame’s decision whether to keep its football independence, will determine just how much the landscape shifts in college sports. This comes on top of the likelihood of a 96-team N.C.A.A. basketball tournament.

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