Tag: Big Ten Conference


Big Ten releases full conference schedule

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Thursday evening the Big Ten Conference released its league schedule for the upcoming season, with two games on December 29 kicking off what should be a highly competitive race. Reigning regular season and tournament champion Wisconsin will be one of four teams playing on that first day, with Bo Ryan’s team welcoming Purdue to Madison.

The Boilermakers, who reached the NCAA tournament last season, have the tools needed to contend in the Big Ten race under head coach Matt Painter with seniors A.J. Hammons and Rapheal Davis leading the way. Also playing on that day are Michigan State and Iowa, two other teams that harbor ambitions of contending in the Big Ten.

There will be five games December 30, with early favorite Maryland hosting Penn State in one of those contests. Also of note on the 30th is Ohio State hosting Minnesota, with the Buckeyes having one of the top recruiting classes in the country, and a Michigan team expected to be much-improved visiting Illinois with the Fighting Illini needing to bounce back from a disappointing 2014-15 campaign that ended in the NIT.

It can be argued that Rutgers, which will in all likelihood be starting a freshman at the point (Corey Sanders) this season, has the toughest three-game stretch to open conference play. Eddie Jordan’s Scarlet Knights host Indiana December 30, with that matchup being followed by games at Wisconsin (January 2) and Maryland (January 6).

The Boilermakers could also have a claim, as their game at Wisconsin is followed by matchups with Iowa (January 2) and a Michigan (January 7) squad that’s healthy after being hit hard by injuries in 2014-15. The difference is that Purdue will get the Hawkeyes and Wolverines in West Lafayette.

Conference play will conclude March 6, with the Big Ten tournament scheduled to begin three days later in Indianapolis.

Link to full schedule (PDF file)

Report: Big Ten looking into idea of making freshmen ineligible for competition in football, men’s basketball

Jim Delany

Less than a week after it was reported by Jon Solomon of CBSSports.com that some conference commissioners have been discussing the possibility of making freshmen ineligible for competition, another outlet has reported that the Big Ten is entertaining thoughts of following that path in football and men’s basketball.

According to The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, the Big Ten has broached the idea of a “mandatory redshirt” that would be geared towards ensuring that freshmen would use their first year of college to get acclimated academically. In the story, Maryland president Wallace D. Loh voiced his support for the idea.

According to the Big Ten, with football and men’s basketball being the lone sports to produce a graduation rate lower than 75 percent those sports would benefit from this move (if it were to occur).

Men’s basketball and football players lag behind other sports in terms of academics, according to data provided in the document. Among the 34 sports listed in the Graduation Success Rate data, football and men’s basketball ranked last in the 2004 to 2007 cohort, according to the document. Among the 38 sports listed in the Academic Progress Rate data from 2009 to 2013, those two sports also ranked last.

The proposal examines “the imbalance observed in those two sports” and cites that football and men’s basketball student-athletes account for less than 19 percent of Division I participants, yet they account for more than 80 percent of academic infraction cases.

There are some issues with this, most notably the idea that football and men’s basketball would be the lone sports subject to this measure. While those in support of freshman ineligibility would likely point to those academic numbers as the reason why, there would likely be a considerable amount of pushback from those who believe that if freshman were to be made ineligible that should be the case for all sports.

And here’s another question to ask: where was this concern for academics during the most recent round of conference realignment? Major conferences, for the most part, have become larger and span more ground than they did in the past. How does that, and the travel time that comes with it, help the “student-athletes” focus on being a student first?

It will be interesting to see where these conversations take college athletics, but making freshmen ineligible for competition may do more harm than good to the bottom line (money) that drove conference realignment.

Big Ten announces changes geared towards helping athletes graduate

Jim Delany
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One week after the Big Ten Conference announced that it would send a list of recommendations to the NCAA regarding the scholarships given the student-athletes, the conference took a step towards acting on those very issues itself.

In the release the Big Ten announced that its members will award scholarships that will be honored throughout the course of the student-athlete’s enrollment, provided they remain in good standing within the athletic department, university and community. Another change to be made by the conference is to ensure that an athlete whose education is interrupted for a legitimate reasons, such as leaving school early to turn pro, they would be allowed to return to school on scholarship in order to complete their studies.

And according to the release, those two changes aren’t the only moves the Big Ten and its members are working towards making in the future.

The Big Ten will continue to work toward the implementation of additional student-athlete welfare proposals through individual institutional action, conference-wide action or under the NCAA autonomy governance structure, including full grant-in-aids to meet cost of education and improved medical insurance. The conference has also agreed to address additional issues such as health and safety, time demands and comprehensive academic support.

Steps like these should come as no surprise, with the Big Ten being one of five conferences granted autonomy by the NCAA this summer. The other four conferences, the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, have yet to make a move along the lines of the one made by the Big Ten. However that will likely change in the near future, even before the multiple lawsuits in which the NCAA and some of its conferences are defendants in reach their conclusion.