The University of Cincinnati is talking with schools -- including Louisville, Memphis State and De Paul -- about forming a new midwestern athletic conference. But nothing has been decided, said Rick Taylor, Cincinnati's director of athletics.
Taylor said he met Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago with athletics directors Bill Bradshaw of De Paul, Bill Olsen of Louisville and Charles Cavagnaro of Memphis State.
The men have met before to discuss possible formation of a Big Midwest basketball conference. But the talks have taken on new urgency with Florida State's decision to leave the basketball-only Metro Conference for the ACC. In addition, Metro member South Carolina is making efforts to enter the Southeastern Conference.
"We're just talking, that's all," Taylor said. "I don't want to mislead anyone. I don't know how close this league is to happening."
The league, if it is formed, would have the benefit of reaching large metropolitan television markets.
Louisville, Cincinnati and Memphis State -- all Metro members -- also reportedly are interested in expanding the Metro to include football. With Florida State gone, the Metro's other members are Southern Mississippi, Tulane and Virginia Tech. . . .
The Knight Commission, a 22-member panel studying reforms in intercollegiate athletics, will meet Sunday in Palm Beach, Fla., for three days of sessions during which it will begin developing the framework of its final report, which is due to be released in March.
The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, commission co-chair and Notre Dame president emeritus, said earlier this week the report likely will be based on the so-called one-plus-three concept of university presidents having control over athletics with an eye toward academic integrity, fiscal integrity and certification of compliance in those areas by an independent auditor.
The commission, which includes NCAA Executive Director Richard Schultz and five members of the NCAA Presidents Commission, was formed about a year ago by the Knight Foundation. It has held five public sessions and gathered testimony from 82 witnesses that have included conference commissioners, athletic directors, faculty representatives, coaches, student-athletes, representatives of athletic shoe manufacturers, television executives and the leaders of professional sports leagues.