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Time for Big Ten to stop adding schools


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Bring back the Big Ten.

Not the bigger 12 or the even-bigger 14, but the real thing.

Don’t transplant the premier sports and academic conference in the Midwest with some weird appendages growing to the East and West.

Skip the mathematically challenged equation of Big Ten plus two plus two more.

Tell the four late-comers that we miscounted and we’ve already got 10. Hey, just blame it on a liberal arts major.

Turn back the clock and the calculator and give us 10 schools that know one another and live in the same big neighborhood.

While you’re at it, give us a Big Ten leadership that cares about fans more than fame.

Unfortunately, commissioner Jim Delaney is caught up in a game of “mine is bigger than yours” with other conferences. Number of schools, size of television audience, girth of bank account, square miles encompassed — it doesn’t seem to matter “what,” just that we’ve got more.

More, however, does not mean better for fans.

Is the conference really better off with 14 disparate members?

It’s not like the Big Ten has

taken a leap in terms of prestige since Penn State and Nebraska became numbers 11 and 12 in 1990 and 2010, respectively. Fans at IU and Purdue still feel little affinity with the counterparts.

Indeed, Penn State brought the conference the greatest football scandal of this century.

Nebraska necessitated the convoluted Legends and Leaders split that deprives football fans of a complete round-robin format.

None of this really makes sense from a fans’ perspective. The addition of Maryland and Rutgers is even more nonsense. I invite you — make that, beg you — to disagree.

It would be nice to hear something more genuine than Delaney’s pontifications about building a bigger beast.

Yes, I know that revenue is the golden calf. Silly me, I thought we were dealing with amateur athletics here.

Nothing is further from the reality of today’s super-conferences. In Delaney’s defense, it takes a wise man to sit still when everyone else is chasing a pot of gold.

It would be refreshing, though, if the Big Cheeses would at least pretend to consider the fans’ interest and exhibit a respect for tradition.

Not here, not now, it appears. So, we are stuck with a Big Ten and counting.

With all due respect to our readers in Lincoln, the thought of the Huskers in a hardwood battle with Rutgers is a disservice to Big Ten basketball. I just don’t care, and I really worry about anyone who does.

Road trip? It’s only 1,288 miles — a mere 21 hours with one bathroom break — between the two schools. Hey, maybe we should put up “Halfway to Piscataway” signs for those Nebraska fans making the trip.

More of everything, though, is the name of the corporate college game.

Once again, we’ve got more. The addition of Maryland and the aforementioned Scarlet Knights brings the Big Ten to 14 teams.

It also dumbs down the conference in terms of prestige and prowess. We have gone from the Big Ten to the just-slightly-above-average 14.

Please, stop the multiplication. I’ve already had to take off my shoes to keep track, and I’m starting to run out of toes.

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