Big Ten to Keep Division Names
A Big Ten spokesman told FanHouse that the Big Ten will keep the division names -- Legends and Leaders -- through the 2011 season and for the unforeseeable future.
When the league announced the new division names on Dec. 13, it received a great deal of negative feedback from the media and the fans. So much that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said in a radio interview last month that the league would "make an assessment whether or not it's sustainable."
That decision has been reached, Big Ten assistant commissioner Scott Chipman told FanHouse.
"Short term there is no plan to change," Chipman said. "They will definitely be utilized for the 2011 football season. It would be impossible to measure their sustainability without using them as they were intended to be used. But like any of our branding or marketing efforts, we will continuously review all aspects, conduct market research and test sustainability."
The Leaders Division consists of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Legends Division: Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.
The division names were needed when the Big Ten added Nebraska as its 12th member for the 2011-12 season. The inaugural Big Ten football championship will be held Dec. 3, 2011, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
After the division names were announced, Delany told WGN AM-720 in Chicago he was surprised by the negative feedback.
"We've had enough experience with names and expansion and development of divisions that we know that you rarely get a 90 percent approval rating," Delany told the radio station last month. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was really surprising. It showed that we didn't connect with our fans in a way that we wanted to. It's humbling -- to say the least -- because we're trying to build fan bases, not push them away."
The division names were intended to honor the Big Ten's history, Delany said.
However, some critics of the division names thought they came across as arrogant. Others had some fun with it, including some creative T-shirts.
Brett McMurphy is a national college football writer for FanHouse. Contact him at email@example.com and please follow at Twitter.com/BrettmcmurphY