Sports

The Big Ten and Midwestern Identity

Why college sports should stop messing with the Big Ten

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In the Midwest, we don't have damp, blustery fall days: We have Big Ten weather. We don't have mammoth land-grant universities: We have Big Ten schools. You may insult our climate, our politicians, or our Miss America contestants, but not the Big Ten.

Right now, people in high positions are talking about expanding the nation's oldest collegiate athletic conference. What they may overlook is that it's not just a sports association. It's an identity in a region that needs one.

New Englanders know where New England starts and ends. Southerners have been sticking together since before the Civil War. The residents of Seattle and the people of San Diego all have the Pacific Ocean in common.

But the Midwest is harder to define. Midwesterners have a vague sense of it, which is reflected in, and validated by, the historic reach of the Big Ten.

There are few things that create a sense of common cause in this part of the country. From Manhattan or Malibu, it may look like an unvarying mass of stolid, overall-wearing meatloaf eaters, but underneath our placid exterior, deep differences abound.

The inhabitants of Madison, Wis., don't vote like the citizens of Terra Haute, Ind. The accents in northern Minnesota bear no resemblance to those heard in southern Illinois. Parts of Michigan get 20 feet of snow in a typical winter, while Cincinnati is lucky to get two.

You will not find many parents in Council Bluffs, Iowa, sending their children to receive a higher education in Columbus, Ohio. But on a fall afternoon, a lot of them can tell you whether Ohio State won or lost.

Other Americans want nothing more than to go to heaven. A Midwesterner is someone who would trade it for a trip to the Rose Bowl.

The advocates of conference realignment, however, are willing to blow up this comfortable, unifying framework. In pursuit of more television exposure and revenue, they are casting their eyes far beyond our region to identify potential new members.

Among the schools mentioned as possible additions are ones where most students couldn't find Minnesota on a map, such as Rutgers, Syracuse, Connecticut, and Texas. Any of these additions would be as natural as the Tea Party nominating Nancy Pelosi. The first three belong to the Eastern seaboard. The Big Ten is the heartland.

Texas? Why, of course. And while we're at it, let's grant statehood to Guam. Bringing in the Longhorns would be like releasing alligators in Duluth, Minn.: not comfortable for either party.

The Big Ten already has some experience with trampling over its natural boundaries, from admitting Penn State in 1990. Nothing against the Nittany Lions, but it was a mistake.

Penn State is now and will always be the equivalent of your cousin's ex-husband who keeps on coming to the family reunion 20 years after the divorce. He's greeted politely then but forgotten any other time. But what good could have come from squeezing 11 schools into a conference with "Ten" in its name?

The battle to keep the Big Ten at 10 is lost, but a few rules should guide any expansion. If your students can harvest oysters without leaving the state, you are not a Big Ten school. If they can leave class and be standing in a cornfield within 20 minutes, you are.

Does summer smell like salt water? Out. Is it fragrant with cow manure? In. Mountains and beaches? Let's think about this. Flat vistas that go on longer than the Academy Awards telecast? Now we're talking.

The University of Missouri is located in a state that had slavery, which is not a Midwestern thing, but it stayed in the Union, which is. Lots of people in Iowa and Illinois already feel an affinity because they root for the St. Louis Cardinals and share the Mississippi River.

Nebraska and Iowa State? Their athletes wouldn't need cultural orientation classes to prepare for trips to West Lafayette, Ind. Notre Dame, as everyone else knows, is a Big Ten school that just refuses to accept its obvious destiny.

In the end, there is something inseparable between the conference and the region where it grew up, and we tinker with it at our peril. So my advice to university presidents: If your students are happy to be called Midwesterners, you belong in the Big Ten. If they would take it as an affront, look elsewhere.

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  1. Good morning reason!

    1. You may insult our climate, our politicians, or our Miss America contestants

      rebuttal: Miss Indiana

      1. Apparently, googling is too hard for Steve Chapman:

        Miss Iowa

        1. Didn’t Miss Michigan just win the whole shebang?

      2. WTF? No swimsuit pics?

  2. Good Morning Suki!

    The midwest (Iowa) is a place I am glad I am from.

  3. Want to talk about expansion killing a football culture, look at what it might do to the Big 12: Two of their schools could go to the Big 10, then six more could follow Texas to the Pac-10. This is a conference that dates back 80 years and has as much a specific geographic identity as the Big 10+1.

    It was bad enough reading about senators from two states (Utah and Idaho) calling for anti-trust investigations. Wait until Kansas’ two schools and Colorado or Baylor get left out of the super conferences.

    1. The Big12 is less than 20 years old.

      1. Shouldn’t that be the Big XII?

        1. Only if I gave them enough respect to care.

          I dont think the BigTeleven is the official name either, but doesnt stop me from using that. Or the BigInt.

    2. Baylor was only in the Big12 because Richards was governor at the time of the conference formation.

      1. I think TCU and Houston really got the shaft when the SWC folded. Baylor has never brought anything of substance to the Big XII, unless you count mayhem under Dave Bliss.

    3. That depends on whether you think of the Big12 as an expansion of the Big8 or as a “new” league formed in the 90’s.

      1. The Big XII is the bastard child of the Big 8 and the SWC. There are very few SWC die-hards who would not be overjoyed to give the Midwesterners back.

    4. U Texas destroys every conference it becomes a part of. It *might* be OK in the SEC, but there’s no way they take Baylor, Tech, and A&M along with the Longhorns, and it looks like the state legislature is going to force anyone who wants UT to take the other three too.

    5. Is there really any major difference between a Big XII South team playing an occasional game against a “Pac 16 West” school versus playing a Big XII north opponent?

      Is going to Tucson instead of Iowa or Nebraska really much different?

      The Big XII has terrible revenue compared to the audience and caliber of athletic programs.

      Texas in the Big 10 made no sense geographically (which is why the idea never went anywhere). But if the PAC can take all six major Big XII south schools then divide into east/west divisions then I don’t see much downside (unless you’re in the Big XII North!).

      What about a realignment using the leftover schools — Nebraska/TCU/SMU/Houston/Colorado/Kansas/KState/Iowa State or something similar? And Big 10 can take Missou and force Notre Dame to join?

  4. “The University of Missouri is located in a state that had slavery, which is not a Midwestern thing, but it stayed in the Union, which is.”

    Interesting that Steve seems to be so entrenched in history but glosses over the fact – yes, fact – that every state in the Big 10 except Minnesota had slaves. Apparently, slavery is a “midwestern thing”

    But I’ll accept this as an oversight on Steve’s part, given that Big 10 people can’t seem to count right anyway. Big 10? Umm, its got 11 members. Really? Are they that dense?

    1. Twelve. UChicago is still a member, just not for sports.

    2. Ohio was probably one of the – if not the – biggest transporter of slaves via the Underground Railroad to Canada. Abolitionism was very strong here. John Brown was living and doing business in the Akron area when he declared his desire to rid the nation of slavery. He brought a lot of the area’s prominent businessmen into the abolitionist camp.

      1. True, but it doesn’t alter the fact that there were slaves in Ohio.

        1. No their werent. Not legally anyway. Neither the state of Ohio nor Ohio territory.

          1. Census data would seem to indicate otherwise.

            1. Census data has nothing to do with legality.

        2. Yes, escaping ones.

          1. When Virginian John Randolph’s 518 slaves were emancipated and a plan was hatched to settle them in southern Ohio, the population rose up in indignation. An Ohio congressman warned that if the attempt were made, “the banks of the Ohio … would be lined with men with muskets on their shoulders to keep off the emancipated slaves.”

            So, where they lying or did they shoot them all as they crossed the river? I guess as long as they continued on to Canada or Michigan or Toledo, Ohioans probably didnt care.

            1. About half of the city’s 2,200 blacks left, most of them apparently going to Canada. The proponents of strict enforcement of the Black Laws then discovered that they had driven off “the sober, honest, industrious, and useful portion of the colored population,” which lessened “much of the moral restraint … on the idle and indolent, as well as the profligate” among the rest.

              Its good to see the law of unintended consequences is well over 200 years old.

              1. The abolitionists in the Old Northwest pitched their appeal, in part, to the desire for a homogenous (white) Ohio by claiming that attempts by blacks to immigrate into the state would end when slavery ceased and there was no more reason for blacks to flee the South for “the uncongenial North.”

                heh.

                1. Jim Crow:

                  When the public school system spread to Ohio, citizens and legislators alike objected to educating blacks from public funds, in part because it would tend to encourage blacks to come there and settle.

                  In the end, the state, like Pennsylvania, required its district school directors to set up separate facilities for black and white children. The Ohio courts upheld this segregation in 1850 and 1859, rejecting the idea of integration and declaring that, “whether consistent with true philanthropy or not … there … still is an almost invincible repugnance to such communion and fellowship.”

                  Yet segregation was not enough for many Ohio whites, and they insulted, opposed, and sometimes literally attacked private schools set up to teach black children. Whites destroyed newly opened schools for blacks in Zanesville in 1837 and Troy in 1840.

                  1. “Yet segregation was not enough for many Ohio whites, and they insulted, opposed, and sometimes literally attacked private schools set up to teach black children. Whites destroyed newly opened schools for blacks in Zanesville in 1837 and Troy in 1840.”

                    But…but…free markets and…um…

      2. The “Fugitive Slave Act” was also enforced in Ohio…which is why the railroad had to be “underground”….most of the homogenous redneck ohio population would tar and feather the extremist radicals if they were caught trafficking in humans and then shackle the slaves and death march em back to Mississippi.

    3. Northwest Ordinance prohibited slavery in all the NW Territory from the moment of its passing. So neither Ohio the state, nor Ohio the Territory ever had slavery (ditto for Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, etc). That doesnt mean there wasnt slavery before that, but I think it shoots down your statement.

      Considering the first Ohio constitution specifically bans slavery, I dont think you can say every state had slaves. In fact, without looking up details, PA might be the only state in the Big10 in doubt.

      1. Of course, one of the first acts of the Ohio legislature once it became a state was to ban the migration of blacks into the state.

        1. The B10 homers still pride themselves on their awesome unracism in spite of the fact that in modern times the Klan and Indiana go together more than Georgia and peaches.

      2. Census data records slaves in those states. You can easily look it up.

        http://www.census.gov/

        1. Doesnt mean they were legal.

        2. Actually you cant. Find me any link on any site to the Ohio 1810 census.

          Hint: All except 1 county was lost.

          1. Oh, so the loss of the 1810 data changes the facts?

            Nice try.

            1. What facts? The 1802 constitution of Ohio outlaws slavery. During any census while Ohio is a state, slavery was illegal. Those are the facts.

            2. so the loss of the 1810 data changes the facts?

              Yes.

              Statement of yours: You can easily look it up.

              Result: False. I cant easily look it up because the data was destroyed.

              1. Some one call the burn ward, cause we got a new victim! Owww!

      3. What about Michigan? We own them.

    4. Modern-day slavery a reality in Minnesota, across globe

      Since Detroit was a (the?) major terminus for the Underground Railroad, we Michiganders apologize to nobody about slavery.

    5. Let’s not forget that Indiana was long the flag bearer for the KKK.

  5. Obama should sit down with the Big Ten and have a beer.

  6. You sports people are weird.

  7. Leave us alone! Allow the Big Ten to beat up on each other in the regular season and fall apart in the bowl games. It is as it should be. Keeps us warm in the winter.

    Oh. Go Blue!

    1. fall apart? not always. ohio state won the rose bowl rather convincingly.

      1. Uh…I said Go Blue! We need our annual 200+ inches of snow each winter to forget U of M’s shellacking every time we get to play new year’s day.

  8. Yeah, best to keep Texas out. The Longhorns’ going 3-1 against the pride of the Big10/11 and Mack Brown’s already winning as many Rose Bowls as Bo Schembechler ever did probably isn’t something the Rust Belt wants to see extended to the rest of the conference.

  9. FAIL. What about Penn State?

    1. Did you read the whole article?

  10. Yawn.

  11. I couldn’t tell you what the big 10 are. I assumed Syracuse was one. I don’t give a damn about college football. Why is this article on here?

    1. Because some of us care.

      Why would you post on an article you dont care about? I dont post on the ones on uninteresting topics to me.

      1. The name of this magazine is REASON! Get it. The articles should have a god damn reason.

      2. Because I read the article thinking it would have some relevance to the magazine. I assumed this was about government intervention in how the college sports operate, but instead I just get a stupid sports article.

        1. The Big Ten and Midwestern Identity
          Why college sports should stop messing with the Big Ten

          Which part of the title/subtitle led you do think it had anything to do with government intervention?

          You probably complain about the prog music links too.

  12. I can’t think of many subjects, more inane.

  13. Of course, people from Manhattan will tell you that upstate New York, and for that matter anything west of the Hudson, is part of the midwest, so maybe PSU and Syracuse do belong.

    1. But don’t people from Manhattan root for Kansas State?

  14. Penn State is a great school and it has an excellent football program. Penn State is an asset to the Big Ten, they didn’t need the Big Ten, they could have stayed independent. Big Ten football would have suffered without Penn State.
    Interestingly, the University of Chicago is still a part of the Big Ten, just not in athletics.
    I would hope they either get Notre Dame, Nebraska, Pitt, or expand further east/northeast.

    1. Wanted to add…
      I mean they aren’t just good at football PSU is very good at academics too.
      And, adding Texas would make no sense, in my opinion.

      1. It makes no sense to add TEXAS because they would dominate this league.

        1. Yeah good one, lets see Texas has lost to Penn State and Ohio State that last time they played each other, they wouldn’t dominate. But obviously its been settled Nebraska is in.

    2. Penn State needed the Big 10 more than vice versa. Not to say that PSU hasn’t helped out the Big 10, but the Big Ten has generated a lot more money than PSU than vice versa*. PSU never had the clout and alumni support that Notre Dame has and uses to stay independent.

      * Access to the Rose Bowl, a cut of bowl winnings in the lean years, etc.

      1. Ugh, “the Big Ten has generated a lot more money than PSU than vice versa” should be “the Big Ten has generated a lot more money for PSU than vice versa”.

    3. Pennsyvania teams can be considered as the Keystone State borders one of the Great Lakes.

      Notre Dame would fit right in.

      Nebraske? No fucking way.

      1. By that logic, New York State is in the midwest too.

        1. RIT for Big Tewelve!!

        2. Except that New York State is gay.

        3. As a former resident of Buffalo and a graduate from Michigan State, I would say that much of New York and Pennsylvania away from the coasts has a lot more in common with Ohio than the east cost. Draw a line down the Appalachians. That is where Big Ten country begins.

  15. If the Big 10 wants a 12th school, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Cinci or Pitt (in that order) are all far superior choices to UConn or Rutgers. Mizzou is also acceptable fine because it’s a Midwestern state. There are a lot of Hawkeye fans that would love for their rivalry with the Cyclones to be moved into the Big 10.

    1. Iowa State doesn’t have the academic prestige to fit in in the Big 10. Neither does Mizzou, for that matter. Nebraska, ND, Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers would work though.

      The research money the Big 10 brings in dwarfs the athletic money. They don’t want to jeopardize that by diluting their reputation.

      1. IIRC, both Iowa St and Mizzou are AAU members (Notre Dame isnt, but they are strong enough academically that an exception would be made).

        As is Georgia Tech as of a few weeks ago. And, yes, there are rumors that the BigInt is interested in the Atlanta cable market.

        1. Another reason I don’t want to go to the Big Ten: Most Georgia Tech players have never even felt temperatures below 20. How are we going to do playing away games in 0 degrees?

  16. Get over it Steve. The Big Ten doesn’t care what you or any other Big Ten fan thinks. Note the fiasco that is the Big Ten Network. This is all about the money. The Big Ten is looking for revenue generation which means their most likely pick will be Texas. I think eventually you’ll see them go to 16 teams. Other conferences are going to take part in this as well. BSC conferences will probably consolidate to 5 if not 4 within the next 5-10 years. It’s big business bud. It’s funny there was a slavery thread earlier since we have a system that makes huge money off of these kids and all it cost them is an extra chair in a classroom.

    1. The BTN was only a fiasco because of the protracted fight Time Warner had with the Big Ten to carry the channel. Otherwise, it brings in a ton of money and gives exposure to the less big sport athletically-gifted schools.

      One of the better features is that it shows many of the non-revenue sports. I get to watch some of the best college soccer and volleyball in the country now, whereas before there was nothing.

  17. Note the fiasco that is the Big Ten Network.

    I would question calling something that generates that much revenue a “fiasco”.

    1. It was a fiasco for Ohio State fans who already got to see all of their football games and all major basketball games on Network TV.

      1. As Ohio St (not the fans) are owners of the B10 network, it is there perspective that needs to be considered. And it isnt a fiasco. Fuck the fans, they will pay.

        1. My point exactly.

    2. The Minnesota football games start at 11 am. Zzzzzzzzzz.

  18. Believe it or not, the Big Televen is first an academic association. New members have to meet academic requirements as well as be very large research institutions. The Big Televen is very much wedded to the original mission of the association, still, so they’re not just going to add schools willy-nilly. I remember it being said that Texas qualifies on all the academic and research criteria, as well as Mizzou, UCONN, Rutgers and Syracuse.

    1. Mizzou? I don’t think so. Aside from the journalism school that place is junk. Nebraska is a better academic fit.

      1. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember they met the requirements. Someone above mentioned AAU membership. Mizzou fits there.

    2. Rutgers?!? Them’re so nappy headed hoes at Rutgers!

  19. Where it said Reaon.com Free Minds and Free Markets. This article has zero to do with this website.

    1. This article is about free minds – the thought process of midwesterners. And free markets, for that matter, as the market for college sports is concerned (it isnt always free however).

    2. Oh no, the Spelling-Challenged Topicality Police have busted us! Everybody look like you’re talking about free minds and free markets while they’re here. No talking about sports, breasts, or meat cooking techniques!

      1. The key is to take the steak off the grill before it reaches the temperature you want. That way it is cooked perfectly when it reaches your plate.

        Oh, and free markets and free minds or some such statement, as we wouldn’t want our free minds talking about an unapproved topic.

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  22. The only one screwing with the Big 10 is the Big 10 itself. If you don’t like the Big 10’s possible expansion plans direct you bitching to Big 10 commissioner Delaney.

  23. The only reason to add Syracuse would be to have a team to beat-up on at Homecoming. The football team is a regular on ESPN’s “Bottom Ten”. Also, prior to 1890 the school’s colors were rose pink and pea green.

  24. The only reason to add Syracuse would be to have a team to beat-up on at Homecoming. The football team is a regular on ESPN’s “Bottom Ten”. Also, prior to 1890 the school’s colors were rose pink and pea green.

  25. You’re out of your element, Donny. Expansion is coming nationwide, mostly driven by the Big Televen’s desires, not by others.

    1. The only conference that’s actually extended invitations so far is the PAC 10, so you’re way off.

      1. That is because the BigInt moves at the pace of a Wisconsin winter.

        Just because the Pac-10 will be the first to formally extend an invitation (technically, the MWC is beating them to it – inviting Boise St) doesnt mean the BigInt didnt kick it off.

        The P10 hasnt issued any invited yet. On Sunday they approved their commissioner following any of 4 plans:

        1. Stay at 10
        2. Expand to 12 (probably Colorado and Utah)
        3. Expand to 16 (as discussed)
        4. Expand to 22 (merge with Big12)

        1. See the link below, July 27th is the earliest P10 will formally invite anyone.

          1. Sorry, that is earliest they will announce expansion, offers could go out this week.

  26. I think pitt would be the best fit, since notre dame will never happen.

  27. I doubt Texas will accept the Big 10’s offer. With its tradition in sports like baseball and swimming, Texas’ athletics is more akin to Cal, Stanford, UCLA, or USC. I dont think Texas even has an ice hockey team. Plus, Austin’s ecomony is dominated by high tech & half the residents are california ex pats. It never snows. I expect Texas to accept the recent invitation from the PAC 10.

    1. The Big 10 doesn’t have an ice hockey presence either. Its schools are scattered between the WCHA (MN, WI) and the CCHA (OSU, MI, MSU), or don’t have a varsity team at all (the rest).

      I still agree with your larger point, though. Texas is not a great fit for a new Big 10 school.

    2. Why the hell would Texas want to go to the Pac-10? I think it’s actually a step down from the MWC nowadays.

  28. This article seems to say “libertarian for thee but not for me.”

  29. Discussion of the expansion stuff from one of the more amusing sites on the internet (if you are into college football). Even has some libertarian themes in the article if you squint.

    Link

    1. There is even discussion of government interference for the whiny bitches.

  30. Some people are saying that Georgia Tech might go to the Big Ten. As a Tech fan, I will be pretty pissed. I mean come on I know like 2 people who are fans of Big Ten schools. Who am I going to talk about it with? Who’s face am I going to rub it in when we win? Who will I avoid when we lose?
    I want my Southern team playing against Southern schools. There’s also talk about Tech joining the SEC. While more tolerable, it’s still a bad idea. For one thing, Georgia Tech, a school that has produced a substantial portion of NASA, will have to compete with teams that allow players with in sixth grade reading level into their schools to play football. Secondly, I like being able to cheer for ACC schools against non-Conference teams. However, I would sooner pull for an Al-Qaeda before I pull for the Georgia Bulldogs.

    1. A few years after leaving the SEC, Georgia Tech came with its tail between its legs looking for readmission to the conference. The SEC said, “No dice.”

      Tech never considered the ACC until it ran out of options, as all the major schools were joining conferences at the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s. But we all know that FSU, Clemson, Miami and N.C. State athletes are top drawer academically.

      The SEC already owns Atlanta without Georgia Tech, so there’s not much upside for Tech’s admission (though I think Tech will be on the short list). The Big Televen’s not calling, despite Georgia Tech’s recent admission to the AAU. I don’t know who these “some people” are that are talking Big Televen and Georgia Tech, but it sounds like a stab at trying to remain relevant in a changing landscape.

      The ACC, Big East and Big XII are in trouble (ACC and Big East to a lesser extent because of hoops prowess).

      1. >FSU, Clemson, Miami and N.C. State

        Wow four bad schools! SEC schools actually have trouble keeping players out of fucking prison. Georgia Tech is plenty relevant. We’ve been to 13 straight bowl games. And we do it without a scandal a decade, and we don’t have to give our players a class in “basketball coaching” to get their GPA high enough to stay eligible. Our association with the ACC also got us to develop a basketball program. Fuck the SEC and all their moron players and paying-for-players coaches.

        1. That’s a full third of your conference, math wiz. Throw VPI and Beamer Ball in there as well. I’m just pointing out the folly of your aversion to regularly playing “teams that allow players with in sixth grade reading level into their schools to play football.”

          And no, I’m not a party to either conference. It’s funny that you won’t go slumming with Bama but have no problem with FSU.

        2. Joe Hamilton, anyone?

      2. Jim – You are quite a hater of the Big Ten, ACC, Georgia Tech, etc. I think you must be a SEC homer. Looks like you forgot to mention the last National Championship won by a Georgia team was by Georgia Tech in 1990 a full 10 years after your Dawgs’ Jan Kemp special. I think UGA is the one trying to stay relevant in a SEC world of Gators, Tide, and Tigers. Good luck with that…

  31. Shove the whole big ten up your ass robc. Yeah, Take it all in.

    Steve Chapman,

    I personally don’t care about sports or the mid-west’s need for a common identity unless there’s a free markets/free minds theme in there.

    Or maybe you’re on to something, I thought that by clicking on the comments I would see 100 variations of “who gives a fuck?” but people seem interested.

    This reader, however, wishes he hadn’t read the whole article looking for the tie-in in vain.

    1. Oh, are we supposed to be single-issue minded?

      1. No, just issue minded. This is no issue at all.

  32. A) Idiotic article. Waste of my time.
    B) It’s funny how the Big 10 is acting like there’s a possibility of tu joining the conference. That would be a really stupid move. I think it’s a trick to try and make the expansion look better to other schools. What a laugh.
    C) What the fuck did this fluff-ass article have to do with the promotion of “Free Minds and Free Hearts”?

    1. C

  33. It’s always amusing when ‘the original Big 10’ proponents tell us how it’s really about academics.

    Right; money has nothing to do with it.

    Sure.

  34. In case anyone cares, this is the list of members in the Association of American Universities.

    Maybe this is all an elaborate scheme to drive membership for the AAU, with the Big Televen getting kickbacks.

  35. Mr. Chapman is balls-on correct. I just hope politicians don’t get directly involved. Even Nero would have thought that investigating the steroid abuse in MLB at the Congressional level was fatuous. I am also a Tigers fan and heard that some congressman is trying to get Galaraga his perfect game via Congressional Fiat. Pathetic.

  36. Go HAWKEYES!

    I think the Huskers would fit in the Big Ten. The Hawks defense would piss all over the Huskers every year. Probably not. But I would love to see the Huskers go to the big house every other year.

  37. Nice article! And the comments were interesting too.

    I agree that it doesn’t exactly fit with the traditional focus of the magazine but I don’t care. Maybe offering some variety isn’t as bad a few readers think. Judging from the comments there didn’t seem to be any shortage of interest.

    Key elements to consider in candidates: ability to expand BigTen marketing into new markets, midwest identity, contributing to the overall strength of the conference (not just Football), and balancing the conference in football. On that last point, consider that the conference will probably create two divisions along the lines of protected rivalries. A traditional problem of adding Notre Dame is that the result would be an eastern division significantly stronger than the western one.

  38. Did I miss something? What does this article have to do with Libertarianism?

    1. …Or anything worth a shit!

  39. i guess it’s safe to say not a lot of big ten fans that read reason magazine.

    my predictions this fall. hawks will finally snap their losing streak to northwestern. the hawks will have a good season and their last game with be for the national championship.

  40. This is ironic. The “borders” of the Big 10 should be held in high esteem but the borders of the Nation should be ignored.

    1. Welcome to Libertopia

  41. Expand the Big Ten? Terrible idea. Look what happened when the Pac Eight added Arizona and Arizona State — it destroyed all sense of us west coasters’ identity. Now we don’t know who we are. I hope they expel the AZ schools for their state’s Nazi behavior and we can go back to taking comfort in a shared identity shaped by some water.

  42. Expand the Big Ten? Terrible idea. Look what happened when the Pac Eight added Arizona and Arizona State — it destroyed all sense of us west coasters’ identity. Now we don’t know who we are. I hope they expel the AZ schools for their state’s Nazi behavior and we can go back to taking comfort in a shared identity shaped by some water.

  43. I had this article sent to me by a friend and have a few thoughts. First, I’m an Ohio State grad, and I want to underscore something the article points out – that people from different states in the midwest don’t really know or care for the people from the other states. They possess a football team we hate and want to beat, and that’s the extent of our relationship. Heck, even Cincinnatians don’t look too kindly on people from Cleveland and vice versa.

    So, you can’t say that there’s an identity marked by a lack of identity…and that’s why no new outsiders are welcome. Every Big Ten state is so unique that adding a few more weirdos would be doing just that…adding more diversity that would create animosity on the gridiron because they’re different in some way.

    1. Wrong.

      I say this as a Michigander now living in the (hopefully soon to be Big 10) state of Missouri (for my own sake? Go Green). But because I hail from a Midwestern state, I find that I am more comfortable around the people in this state and vice versa. This despite the fact that the cultures and landscape are a bit different between the two states. There’s still a “Midwestern connection.”

      St. Louis is a lot like Detroit. Kansas City reminds of Indianapolis. Etc. There may be differences? big ones? among Midwestern states, but in the end I think the reason we all get along is because there ARE certain shared values and characteristics of the Midwest.

  44. The inclusion of Penn State in the Big Ten made a lot of sense in a conference dominated by mega-football.

    Penn State has a strong fooball program and Beaver Stadium is largest in the Western Hemisphere.

    http://pennstategameday.com/wp…..tadium.jpg

  45. I have lived in a few of the big 10 states and Penn State does belong. Clearly this tool bag has not been there and tried to write some midwest flavored homage. PA is not Philadelphia. It is a very rural campus, just ask the athletes that land their and need to take a two hour bus ride to the campus. Oh yeah, passing a lot on cornfields on the way.

  46. You know there are oysters in the Great Lakes, right?

  47. Making decisions based on increasing revenue? How dare they? Did Reason change its philosophy and not tell me?

  48. As an alumni of both a Big Ten School (Northwestern) and Notre Dame, as well as someone who considers Madison, Wisconsin her hometown, I only have two things to say:

    First, it’s Terre Haute, not Terra Haute (spelled like it’s French, spoken like it’s the Midwest).

    Second, I’m a tool for pointing this out.

    1. As long as we’re being tools, Sarah, a singular female graduate of Northwestern is an alumna. On the other hand, calling oneself a Notre Dame alumni seems entirely appropriate, since Domers usually display an operating intelligence that completely belies the school’s lofty admission standards.

  49. This subtitle: ‘Why college sports should stop messing with the Big Ten’ is inaccurate. If Mr. Chapman has been paying attention to any of this, it is the inverse of what he alleges—the Big Ten, with Commissioner Delaney at the forefront, has been pushing this for a while behind the scenes AND spoke publicly on it in Dec, which caused all these parts to shift. Contrary to his opinion, the B10 is not an innocent bystander in all of this.

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