Did Xavier's AD spill the beans on Big East expansion plans?

Andy Lyons

A Xavier "ask the AD" video on YouTube is being used to promote the idea that the Big East is already thinking expansion.

Did Xavier athletic director, Greg Christopher, spill the beans about the Big East's plans for expansion in a YouTube video? The school's athletic chief sat down to answer questions about all of his teams as well as about the Big East generally.

Around five minutes into the video, the interviewer asked Christopher about Big East expansion, and whether Dayton might be included in the conference in the future. He answered, somewhat cautiously, in the affirmative, creating a wave of new speculation about Big East Conference expansion.

Christopher makes it clear by saying, "I think," and by noting that nothing is "codified in stone" that he is speaking from his opinion, rather than in regard to any official conference plans. He believes that the league is "heading that way," toward expansion, but there is no timeline to do so, though Christopher suggests that decisions would be made within the "next five years."

In regard to the candidates for expansion, he listed off St. Louis, Dayton, Richmond, and VCU, as the schools that get mentioned in the media, but didn't offer any insider information to that effect. If expansion did happen, he sugggested that two of those schools would be brought in, but he does not know which two.

In the end, he admits that any expansion would be decided above his head, by the university presidents of the conference.

The discussion on expansion starts around the 5:18 mark of this video:

Christopher is not speaking for the conference here, and it seems unlikely that expansion beyond the current ten-school line-up is anywhere near the front-burner for the Big East at the moment. The conference just launched its website today (BigEast.org), and has not yet fully staffed its conference office, obtained a permanent office space in New York City, or accomplished a myriad of other tasks on the start-up checklist.

In fact, as of last week, the few league employees who are already in place still did not have official Big East email addresses. It will take time to get to a spot where this conference is ready to have a frank discussion about the merits of further expansion and which schools to include.

It did seem like a 12-team league was the goal at one point as this was all coming together, however, so another two-school expansion is perhaps likely down the line. Also, barring a major change in the landscape, the four schools named by Christopher will no doubt be discussed when that time comes. However, that time isn't now.

Any speculation of Big East expansion prior to the new conference's inaugural season would seem very premature. The Xavier AD talked about the matter somewhat frankly, but offered no real definites in doing so. This is interesting information, but not much to bank on.

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