Big Ten Network carriage agreements may be motivating conference expansion

It's no secret that college football is big business and that a major contributing factor is revenue from television. The influential reach of that revenue is a hot debate in organizations that are supposed to put more ideal values above capitalistic ones -- the two are not always at odds, though. So when a collegiate organization like the Big Ten Conference is motivated to expand, most would like to think it's a school's academic, or even athletic, merits that put said institution at the top of the want list. However, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports believes the reason the Big Ten courted the University of Maryland and Rutgers University really just comes down to finding a way to sell an additional 14.6 million residents the Big Ten Network. The economics of sports networks on cable television is well documented -- the majority pay so that the vocal minority may watch -- but sculpting an amateur sports league to ensure your cable TV channel gets carriage in America's largest media markets might be a new twist.