DEAR READER: MU, Big Ten expansion news: the big catch everyone's chasing

Friday, May 14, 2010 | 11:15 a.m. CDT; updated 1:04 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 14, 2010

Dear Reader,

There was blood in the water Monday.

No bodies. Just blood.

The info-sharks bit anyway.

Picture sheriff Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) in the old "Jaws" movie, shoveling a slick of fish guts and blood over the boat, watching it spread as the boat trolls the seas.

Now picture the Big Ten.

For the second week, a single source led to a frenzy of news and speculation that added little to the collective knowledge.

For those whose whole world doesn’t revolve around the issue, a synopsis: The Big Ten announced late last year that it was studying expansion.

Speculation about Missouri swimming away from the Big 12 immediately began.

Which brings us to Monday.

“The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.”

Kevin Kietzman wrote that lead in the 810 Blog on the Kansas City radio station’s website.
I first saw the news in an e-mail referencing a Twitter post. The thing spread Internet-fast.

Great story, if true.

Newspapers across Big 12 and Big Ten markets — a huge chunk of the country — picked up the story, in a sort of backdoor way.

The Missourian’s response was fairly typical.

The sports desk didn’t just parrot the report. Reporters took a couple of hours trying to determine the veracity of the Kietzman blog.