14 appears to be the magic number for the Big10.
All the talk about conference expansion these past few months has finally started to turn into action - I've just received word that the Big10 has just made offers to Missouri, Nebraska, and LeBron James.
Though the schools haven't officially confirmed their acceptance yet, it is widely believed that both will say yes to the Big10. But the real coup is the partnership with James, one of the NBA's biggest stars in the last few years.
"We're really excited about what Nebraska and Missouri bring to the table," said conference commissioner Jim Delaney. "But to be able to bring LeBron into the fold - that's just golden. We're sure he'll immediately impact the conference in a very positive way, both internally and with our national reputation."
There is no doubt that James has the athletic pedigree, and his lack of a championship should serve to keep him hungry. And it's believed that he'll bring at least another $40-50 million per season to the conference, which the other schools are thrilled with.
Fans in Ohio were thrilled with the merger too.
"This more than makes up for him losing to the Celtics!" Joe Milovic of Cleveland said.
James himself was positive about the transition. "You know, it's the best of both worlds really. I get to stay in Ohio, but I'm kinda distancing myself from all the heartache the city's professional sports teams have suffered since like, forever."
John Marinatto, commissioner of the BigEast, said, "Whew. That's all I can say right now. We dodged a bullet there." When asked about his own conferences expansion plans, he said, "Well, we didn't know we could ask LeBron or we would have years ago. But that just goes to show why the Big10 is the Big10 - they're pioneers."
So what does this mean for the rest of the conferences? Well, this is the one domino that could start the chain reaction we've all been waiting for. According to sources, the Big12 is looking at adding Texas Christian University and the Denver Broncos to replace Missouri and Nebraska. The Mountain West, just starting to gain some respectability, is expected to replace TCU with Boise State, as well as bring in Fresno State, Hawaii, and the whole city of Las Vegas to get to their 12 members. What happens after that is anybody's guess.