Chicago The Big Ten might be getting bigger.
Commissioner Jim Delany said Tuesday the conference is going to explore options over the next 12 to 18 months for expanding the league. The league’s presidents and chancellors decided this month that the timing is right to study adding a 12th school.
The Big Ten said in a statement it also looked at expansion in 1993, 1998 and 2003. Penn State joined in 1990, and Notre Dame rejected an offer in 1999.
The league said no action on expansion is expected soon. It said it hopes to gather information before engaging in formal discussions with any schools.
The conference actually has 11 football teams, despite its name.
Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez last week told the university’s board that he thinks the conference is serious about adding a 12th team, though Delany as recently as March called expansion a “back-burner” issue.
When Penn State came aboard, it was the first addition to the conference since Michigan State in 1949.
Notre Dame, with its campus in South Bend, Ind., and a football independent with a lucrative and exclusive TV contract, rejected an offer 10 years ago. Most of the school’s other athletic teams compete in the Big East.
Earlier this year, Penn State coach Joe Paterno said he’d like to see Rutgers, Pittsburgh or Syracuse join the league. He was not in favor of extending another offer to Notre Dame.
University of Missouri spokeswoman Mary Jo Banken said the school hasn’t been contacted by the Big Ten.
“Should there be an official inquiry or invitation, we would evaluate it based on what is in the best interest of MU, athletically and academically,” she said in an e-mail.
Don Walsworth, a major donor to Missouri’s sports programs who was a member of the board that governs the university until earlier this year, said that, aside from a Big Ten television contract that allows more revenue sharing than the Big 12 deal, it makes little sense for Missouri to jump conferences.
The school’s position in the geographic middle of the conference allows easy, relatively inexpensive travel, Walsworth said. Leaving behind rivals such as Kansas and big-time opponents like Texas would upset fans.
“I think that they would be a little bit miffed if we had to start those traditions over again,” Walsworth said.
White Sox acquire Pierre
Chicago — The Chicago White Sox got the leadoff man and left fielder they needed. Juan Pierre got the chance to be an everyday player again.
The White Sox acquired Pierre and $10.5 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday for two players to be named.
The 32-year-old Pierre hit .308 with 30 stolen bases, 57 runs and a .365 on-base percentage in 145 games with the Dodgers last year, getting steady playing time when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games for violating baseball’s drug policy.
Once Ramirez returned, Pierre became a reserve again.
Los Angeles is sending Chicago $7 million in 2010 and $3.5 million in 2011 to cover the majority of what remains on Pierre’s $44 million, five-year contract. He is due $10 million next season and $8.5 million in 2011.
Halladay trade close
New York — The blockbuster trade sending Roy Halladay to Philadelphia and Cliff Lee to Seattle could be completed today, and it’s become a four-team swap that involves Toronto shipping a prospect to Oakland.
Halladay would receive a $60 million, three-year contract extension through 2013 with the Phillies, a deal that would include a 2014 option.
Details of the nine players involved in the swap of Cy Young Award winners, first reported by ESPN.com and prospectinsider.com, were confirmed by several baseball officials familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade was not yet final.
Phillies, Gload finalize deal
Philadelphia — Utilityman Ross Gload and the Philadelphia Phillies have finalized their $2.6 million, two-year contract, a deal agreed to at the winter meetings last week. The 33-year-old hit .261 with six homers and 30 RBIs for the Florida Marlins last season. He appeared in 41 games at first base, 10 in right field and one in left.
Tide lands six on AP team
New York — Alabama will bring a lineup powered by All-Americans into the BCS national championship game. The top-ranked Crimson Tide had six players, including Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, voted to The Associated Press All-America team released Tuesday — more than any other school.
Ingram was a unanimous first-team selection, as was linebacker Rolando McClain. Defensive tackle Terrence Cody was selected for the second consecutive season. Cornerback Javier Arenas, guard Michael Johnson and kicker Leigh Tiffin were also first-teamers.
Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, the Heisman runner-up, and Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who finished fourth in Heisman voting, were also unanimous first-team All-America selections.
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was the All-American quarterback, selected to the first team by a panel of 14 AP college football poll voters. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was a second-team selection. Boise State’s Kellen Moore was the third-team quarterback.
Richmond names coach
Richmond, Va. — The University of Richmond has selected former Spiders assistant Latrell Scott as the new coach of its football program. Scott, 34, was introduced Tuesday at an afternoon news conference. He becomes the 34th head coach in program history, and takes over at a time when Richmond football may be at its highest point.
Heisman ratings a record
Bristol, Conn. — The closest vote in Heisman Trophy history drew a record television audience for the announcement ceremony. ESPN’s telecast Saturday averaged a 4.1 rating, up 32 percent from the previous high of 3.1 set the last two years and in 2002.
Upper Deck keeps Woods
Carlsbad, Calif. — Sports card and memorabilia maker Upper Deck Co. says it will continue its relationship with Tiger Woods. The company, and its Upper Deck Authenticated collectibles division, said the two “look forward to his eventual return to the PGA Tour.”