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May 31, 2010

Conference expansion in the works

On Monday, in Wellesley, Mass., UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau participated in a Q&A with the Cal Alumni Club of New England, and sources say that during that meeting, Cal's top official revealed several tantalizing tidbits in regards to the possible expansion of the Pac-10 Conference.

Birgeneau confirmed that the chancellors and presidents of the Pac-10 member schools will be holding a conference meeting on June 6 in San Francisco, and said that he would be "surprised if something did not happen that revolutionized college athletics."

Birgeneau said that expansion is a real possibility in the near future, and that the Pac-10 is seriously considering "a couple of schools, at least one of which meets the academic standards of the rest of the Pac-10."

The Chancellor cited the fact that Illinois makes $13 million per year alone from its participation in the Big Ten Network, a "model we're really looking to, going forward."

This is particularly notable because of the fact that, in 2011, the relocation of Cal football to AT&T Park in San Francisco could cost the University upwards of $5 million (according to Birgeneau) in lost ticket revenue due to the diminished capacity of the baseball-only venue.

BearTerritory's sources also said that it would not come as a surprise if the formation of a Pac-10 Network were announced as early as this weekend.

More on this story as it develops.

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