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Big Ten, as a conference, has lost its balance

July 23, 2012|By Chris Dufresne
  • Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, shown in 2011, announced his own set of penalties against Penn State on Monday, following the lead of the NCAA.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, shown in 2011, announced his own set of… (Paul Beaty / Associated…)

The Penn State decision Monday has thrown the numerically challenged Big Ten into another perplexing state of confusion.

What to do now?

Commissioner Jim Delany followed the NCAA’s rebuke of Penn State with his own set of penalties, including the forfeiture of nearly $13 million in revenue for the next four years.

The Big Ten, though, has an alignment problem. Ohio State’s bowl ban for this season leaves the Leaders Division with two schools now ineligible for the division title.

Consider this: Indiana, 0-8 in Big Ten play last year, is only three NCAA rulings from being crowned Leaders champion.

The Big Ten has long had a numbers issue. It had been playing with 11 teams since Penn State joined in 1993, until last year, when it added Nebraska and split into two six-team divisions.

With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible this year, remaining Leaders division members (Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana) have an competitive advantage over the Legends Division on the path to the automatic BCS bid.

Might the Big Ten have to consider realignment?

“We have not discussed that,” Delany said Monday on a conference call. “You never say never…. I don’t think we have any plans to realign teams and institutions. Our structure is set for decades and not years.”

The good news is that this year, only 10 football teams are eligible to win the Big Ten.

Hey, what do you know? It’s the Big Ten again.


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