Oregon has initiated preliminary discussions with the Big Ten in Chicago to determine if the Ducks are “compatible” in the conference, according to a new report from The Action Network’s Brett McMurphy.

The Big Ten — after just recently announcing a record media rights deal that includes escalators should it add more teams — is not done expanding just yet, and Oregon has long been a rumored connection. However, according to McMurphy’s report, none of Oregon president Michael H. Schill, Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens, or Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren were involved in those discussions that reportedly took place.

John Canzano — a longtime Pac-12 insider based out of Oregon — wrote on Monday that if none of the official power players for the university were involved in any discussions, it could be Phil Knight and Tinker Hatfield serving as the contingent in Chicago.

Conference realignment is always a fickle thing to follow. Five people will tell you five different things. The timeline could be multiple years, and it could be multiple weeks. Warren recently said he could see the Big Ten expanding to 20 teams, but he also said at Big Ten Media Days expansion would happen for the right reasons “at the right time,” and recent reporting has suggested the league might not start making moves again for months.

SI’s Ross Dellenger also offered a bit of context on the reported exploratory conversations: