Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said on Monday that the conference will consider changing the division names for 2014, when Maryland and Rutgers are supposed to be added to the conference.
Currently, the Legends Division consists of Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern; while the Leaders Division is made up of Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. There has been debate and speculation as to where Maryland and Rutgers will be added, but according to Delany, that hasn’t been decided yet.
Delany said that they didn’t have very good options when they were first deciding what to call the divisions, and that he was surprised that there was so much backlash.
“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.”
The Big Ten conference has a lot on their plate at the moment. Since over the course of the next 3-4 months, they will be reevaluating their bowl game partnerships as well as redesigning the divisions. Delany told ESPN that:
“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 did admit that the division names will not be geographic, unless they are divided up by geography, which is a reasonable decision. Delany also did not comment on whether the Big Ten would move to 16 teams or not, other than saying that they are “inactive” but “alert.” Meaning they are paying attention to what other conferences are doing and keeping their eyes open to potential changes, but aren’t planning on anything.
My guess is that they will end up keeping the division names the same, and they will move Rutgers and Maryland into the Leaders division and then move Illinois over to the Legends division. I hope that they don’t do this because it would essentially be taking the easy way out, but I don’t see them going in any other direction at the moment. It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out.