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B1G to Reconsider Division Names

  • From ESPN:

    Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said his league will consider replacing the Legends and Leaders division names in 2014.

    A decision could be made by June.

    "It's on the table," Delany said.

    In 2014, Maryland and Rutgers are scheduled to join the Big Ten. The league must decide what divisions the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights will join and if it will have any current teams change divisions.

    The Legends Division consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern; the Leaders Division is Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

    When deciding on division names in December 2010, Delany said the Big Ten "didn't have great options."

    "We weren't going to go with 'Bo or Woody,' 'Black or Blue,' or 'Plains or Lakes,' " Delany said. "Obviously we got some acceptance [with Legends and Leaders], but not as much as we would have liked."

    Delany said he was a "little surprised" by the backlash when the division names were announced.

    "I'm not sure it was a national survey [of people who didn't like the names], but people who hit the 'send' button," Delany said. "I don't take umbrage to negative reaction. I don't necessarily change when I hear it. I think on the other hand, we said we would test-market it, and we have for a couple of years. We have the opportunity to look at it again. I'm sure we will. Whether or not we change or not is to be determined. I don't have any presumption that we'll change on it, but that doesn't mean we're not looking at it. I don't think when you try to build something, lead some organization, you don't want to be tone deaf. But it's not up for vote every week."

    With Maryland leaving the ACC and Rutgers leaving the Big East, it gives the Big Ten a chance to revisit the division names and makeup of the divisions.

    "We have the opportunity to look at the divisional structure, branding, rivalries and geography all again," Delany said. "Depending on what we do will probably influence exactly how we brand it. I honestly think building leaders and honoring legends is relevant whether it's a branding campaign or divisional names."

    Delany said in the next three to four months, his league would look at the Big Ten's future bowl lineup, divisions, rivalries, branding and "a whole series of related issues."

    "Whether or not we change division [names], I don't know," Delany said. "If [the divisions] are not geographic, we are not going to have geographic names."

    A bigger question than the Big Ten's future division names is the Big Ten's future. Will the league stay at 14 members or is it looking to get to 16?

    In November, Delany said the league was "inactive but alert" as far as future expansion. Delany explained that description last week.

    "Someone said monitoring the landscape was a passive process, it wasn't descriptive," Delany said. "The fact of it is we were 'inactive' and 'not alert' for 22 years as we had 11 members, then we announced we were going to [expand] and that was a circus for months and months and upset a lot of people. We thought there was more risk in the status quo than in change, so we acted [by adding Maryland and Rutgers]. The question is: Where are you?" Delany said. "We're 'inactive,' but is 'alert' different than 'monitoring the landscape?' I don't know, I can't make a qualitative difference. We study it and keep our eyes and ears attuned to what's happening in the real world. We're focusing on other things [than expansion] right now--focusing on integrating Rutgers and Maryland into the league."

  • was not a big fan of the leaders and legends names. but would like to see something other than north/south or east/west. really like great lakes and great plains. but with maryland and rutgers joining that doesnt reaaly fit. as much as i hate the acc, the names coastal and atlantis are good. leaders and legends has grown on me tho. if the B1G doesnt change the division names it will not bother me.

  • okay, first they need to rename the conference before they rename the divisions.

    Renaming the conference will do two things:
    1) Give our conference a new beginning, or a new start. We need something fresh that doesn't associate with the Big Ten anymore. I know it's historic and very traditional, but coming up with another conference name would do wonders from a national perspective.

    In my opinion, the Midwestern Atlantic Conference. (this conference name- the perception is it spreads across multiple regions giving the perspective that it is bigger than what it is. This opens up for more expansion, as well as security, if the future of CFB ever comes to 4 super conferences).

    2) Delaney would then have the option of naming the divisions: Midwest and Atlantic. Or he could go with what I think is very good: Great Lakes and Great Plains Divisons.

    Great Lakes:
    1) Rutgers
    2) Michigan
    3) Michigan State
    4) Purdue
    5) Northwestern
    6) Wisconsin
    7) Minnesota

    Great Plains:
    1) Maryland
    2) Ohio State
    3) Penn State
    4) Indiana
    5) Illinois
    6) Nebraska
    7) Iowa

    Or we could do the usual East vs West, obviously splitting the teams east and west.

    This post was edited by dossbuckeyes 18 months ago

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  • I really just don't like Delany. He seems so arrogant. Geographic makes sense, more sense then anything else. Look at the NFL, are the Dallas Cowboys East? Nope but they play in the east division. Plus, it's the Big 10 with 14 teams, how does that make sense?Lakes and plains signifies exactly what the geography of the B1G footprint. It doesn't mean you have to have the teams that are touching the lakes in the Lakes division. There just unspecific names..The ACC uses coastal and alantic. Oh well, he just doesn't get it. Clearly, adding Rutgers and Maryland makes the football in his conference weaker, but hey it's not about that really so he wins i guess

  • Of all the things I've taken umbrage with Delany over these past few years this isn't one of them.

    In fact I applaud his willingness for once to think and act outside the box by not doing the typical thing of splitting schools along geographical lines, i.e. East, West, North and South. Even though I was all for it in the beginning. The idea of competitive balance is a good thing because we don't want to ever see the B1G become like how the Big 12 was where all the power of that conference was in one division (the south).

    Bottom line here is that division names and all related matters should be the least of Delany's, B1G fans, coaches and players at this point.
    When this is a conference which has only had one member school win a national championship in the BC$ era (a full decade ago now) with no other program coming close save Michigan in '06 and to a lesser extent Iowa in 2009, there's a lot to improve upon.
    Not to mention our continued dismal showings in bowl games over the past two years in particular.

    The focus here should be about hiring the best coaches possible and paying them accordingly. Coaches who can go into top prospects' homes and convince them to come play for a B1G member school as opposed to doing the typical and cliche thing of the moment: going south.
    We need to put borders up around the midwest and once Rutgers and Maryland are in, around the northeast and parts of the southeast/Atlantic regions in order to keep much of the recruiting talent in this conference. Those among many other things should be our top priorities at this point.

  • Young man, what are you talking about? The Midwestern Atlantic Conference? Abbreviated, that would be the MAC. We already have one of those. Your division break down has only three plains states in the "Great Plains" division. Lastly, any reshuffling of the teams that doesn't put Ohio State and Michigan in the same division, is a non-starter in my book.

    This post was edited by osuum 18 months ago

  • For any New Ageists out there, how about Earth and Water? (Insert all Earth, Wind and Fire rebuttals here: ___________________)

  • i like all this

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  • ESPN's Mark Schlabach has made this prediction:

    "The Big Ten will ditch Legends and Leaders as its division names before Maryland and Rutgers join the conference in 2014. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN's Brett McMurphy that a decision could be made as early as June. It's unclear where the Scarlet Knights and Terrapins will fit in the Big Ten's new landscape. Based on geography, the following teams could be placed in the East: Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana and Illinois. The following teams could be placed in the West: Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Northwestern. But geography figures to be tossed out the window when the Big Ten announces its divisional realignment sometime this spring, so look for bitter rivals Michigan and Ohio State to end up in the same division to preserve their longtime series. Sadly, Delany and the Big Ten's athletic directors and presidents will pass on the most appropriate division names available: Rose Bowl Loser and Capital One Bowl Loser."


  • that's pretty funny

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  • The B1G and Delany are just getting mocked and hammered here in the northeast these days. It's the turning of the tide in a sense to me, once the bastion of college football, the prestigious mid-west programs, the tradition, now being mocked because of their pursuit of the dollar over anything else. The B1G Deal is now becoming how they're referring to us.

  • I am going to have to look for the article I read the other day. Was quoted, from sources out of Chicago that in 2014 when they rename and realign, that TSUN and our beloved Buckeyes will be placed in the same division.

  • Well that would be fine by me. I thought it was bone headed to put OSU and UM in different divisions in the first place. It makes perfect sense to me that an annual OSU-UM game to end every season with a spot in the B10 championship game on the line is the way it should be. That keeps the rivalry much more meaningful imo.

    This post was edited by Trotwoodbuck 18 months ago

  • Dear jim ... Its the product stupid not the names (although they do suck)

  • Thanks for sharing Iowa...

    Yeah the truth sometimes stings a bit.

  • +1

    I've done my share of mocking I admit.

  • Nice post, Sugar. I liked the names of the divisions because they were different and imaginative. North/South and East/West are fine but the same old same old. If he changes now, after all the grief he and the presidents have taken, he'll have to come up with division names that everyone agrees are really good. What are the chances of that happening? The B1G will just be in for more crap. Stick with the same names, Jimbo, and move on to more important stuff.

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  • I can live with Legends and Leaders. After three years--which is how long they'll have been around by the time Maryland and Rutgers join in 2014--they'll have gained some traction. The B1G's taken so much flak in the past years, including for the names when they were first introduced, to Jimmy's point, Delany would look pretty foolish admitting they were a marketing misfire, ala New Coke.

    I am more interested in how the divisions will be (re)aligned and it'll be interesting to see, their names aside, what sort of configuration they take and how that might be seen as a clue about future expansion plans. Because I have to believe that if there are plans for the B1G to keep expanding, Delany's going to only want to do this realignment thing once, i.e., if you're remodeling a house and thinking you might be adding on, now's the time to put together those plans, even if you never get around to it. But if they're realigned geographically into an east-west split, that means the next round of expansion, whether it's 2, 4 or 6 new teams, will likely be split evenly between east schools (ACC) and west schools (Notre Dame, Big 12).

    If it's the divisions as they currently stand with one getting Maryland and the other Rutgers, that tells me that future expansion's likely to be in the east because Delany's reiterating his original position that geography isn't as important as competitive balance.

    But at the end of it all, I'm with Schlabach on this: all I really want is for Ohio State and Michigan to be in the same division to ensure not just the preservation of The Rivalry but to ensure it's played on the last weekend of the season, and not replayed the following weekend in the B1G CCG. Winner goes to Indy, loser goes home. That's how it's always been going back to when only one Big 10 team went to a bowl game and despite all the changes, that's how I still want it to be.

  • Delany already looks like an ass and there is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake because it is.

  • Nothing wrong with admitting a mistake? Not in Corporate America. And that's what the B1G is--a huge corporation with lots of holdings and shareholders and CEOs of big businesses don't like admitting they made mistakes because they don't like losing face.

    Sig bet, Indy: I say the B1G won't change Legends and Leaders, you say they will. No stakes, no bragging rights, just you and me picking sides. You up for it? You winning would mean a man you clearly don't respect would have done something I assume you'd applaud.

  • Well Dicklaney just showed his ass and how dumb it really is as far as admitting a mistake was made. This jerk still doesn't get it. It took an uproar of the masses for him to even think about how dumb his decision was.

    ""We weren't going to go with 'Bo or Woody,' 'Black or Blue,' or 'Plains or Lakes,' " Delany said. "Obviously we got some acceptance [with Legends and Leaders], but not as much as we would have liked."

    This is not admitting a mistake in my opinion. Acceptance? Who accepted it Dicklaney? You and your big wig corporate cronies? No one else did and pretty much everyone in the country was mocking you for this ridiculous kindergarten mentality naming of the divisions.

    He may do some things very very well but the handling of expansion (with the exception of Penn State and Nebraska) and making the divisions and then naming them.....because long term Maryland and Rutgers bring nothing. They'll just drag the rest of the conference down financially.....long term. But I don't think he cares about long term. He's taking what he can get now.

    Well he totally and completely missed the mark on that one. That's my two cents.

  • Agree.

    Doesn't matter what they call these divisions. How about
    Hire MAC coaches and get slapped around division.
    Which team will win OSU vs UM division.

  • The B1G conducted research almost a year old that showed (so they claimed) that Legends and Leaders were growing on people. Key findings, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg: "Seventy-six percent of respondents felt the names were unique--including 65 percent of those opposing the names--while 64 percent felt they honored the Big Ten's history. The problem: Only 41 percent said the names are easy to understand. The best remedy to the confusion seems to be time. (The researcher) tracked the approval of the division names during the (2011) season through two-week moving averages, which showed a gradual increase in approval from Week 1 to Week 12. The survey indicates that once fans have a greater understanding of the names and, more important, the actual division alignment, they're less upset about Legends and Leaders."

    Even Rutgers, which played in the very first football game, and Maryland, which sits in our nation's capitol's backyard, qualify under the broad scope of the definitions of Legends and Leaders.

    But just to be clear, I'm not disagreeing with you as much as I think they'll do more follow-up research that shows the names are even further entrenched than a year ago and, as a result, I'm predicting Delany won't change them. And I really, really, really wish he would.

    B1G division names to stay after survey - Big

    Legends and Leaders are here to stay, and Big Ten fans want it that way. The Big Ten has completed its research into the division names, which were p
  • I guess it's ok for every other aspect of society to act this way just not college sports

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  • Agree, leaders and legends is arrogant just like their commissioner

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  • Black and blue division would be inherently racist