History of the Big 10

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How our conference came to be

Big Ten Conference
Big Ten Conference
Sports fielded25 (12 men's, 13 women's)
RegionMidwestern United States
States8 - Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Wisconsin
Past namesIntercollegiate Conference
of Faculty Representatives,
Big Nine, Western Conference
HeadquartersPark Ridge, Illinois

The Big Ten Conference is the United States' oldest Division I college athletic conference. Its member institutions are located primarily in the Midwestern United States, stretching from Iowa and Minnesota in the west to Pennsylvania in the east. The conference competes in the NCAA's Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly known as Division I-A), the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport. Member schools of the Big Ten also are members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a leading educational consortium. Despite the conference's name, since Penn State joined in 1990, there have been 11 schools in the Big Ten, as signified by the hidden "11" in the Big Ten Conference logo (each "1" is on either side of the "T" in "Ten").


The Big Ten is the only Division I conference to have all of its member institutions affiliated with the Association of American Universities, a prestigious collection of 60 research institutions, and leads all conferences in the total amount of research expenditures.

All or most member schools participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track and field, rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, women's volleyball and wrestling.

InstitutionLocationFoundedJoined ConferenceAffiliationEnrollmentNicknameVarsity TeamsNCAA Championships (As of Fall 2006) [1]
(excludes football)
University of IllinoisUrbana and Champaign, Illinois18671896Public40,670Fighting Illini2117
Indiana UniversityBloomington, Indiana18201899
(Athletics 1900)
University of IowaIowa City, Iowa18471899
(Athletics 1900)
University of MichiganAnn Arbor, Michigan18171896
Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing, Michigan18551950
(Athletics 1953)
University of MinnesotaMinneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota18511896Public51,194Golden Gophers2514
Northwestern UniversityEvanston, Illinois18511896Private/Non-sectarian13,407Wildcats193
Ohio State UniversityColumbus, Ohio18701912Public51,818Buckeyes3421
Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity Park, Pennsylvania18551990
(Athletics 1993)
Semi-Public41,289Nittany Lions and Lady Lions2930
Purdue UniversityWest Lafayette, Indiana18691896Public39,228Boilermakers202
University of WisconsinMadison, Wisconsin18481896Public41,169Badgers2323

Former Member

InstitutionLocationFoundedTenure of MembershipAffiliationEnrollmentNicknameVarsity TeamsNCAA Championships[1]
(excludes football)
University of ChicagoChicago, Illinois18901896-1946Private/Non-sectarian13,602Maroons191


On January 11, 1895, the presidents of the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, Lake Forest College, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Purdue University and the University of Wisconsin met in Chicago to discuss the regulation and control of intercollegiate athletics. The eligibility of student-athletes was one of the main topics of discussion.[2] The Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives was founded at a second meeting a year later. Lake Forest was not at the 1896 meeting that established the conference and was replaced by the University of Michigan. At the time, the organization was more commonly known as the Western Conference.

The first reference to the conference as The Big Nine was in 1899 after Iowa and Indiana had joined. The first reference to the conference as the Big Ten was in 1917 after Michigan rejoined following a nine-year absence; Ohio State had been added in 1912.

The conference was again known as the Big Nine after the University of Chicago decided to de-emphasize varsity athletics just after World War II. Chicago discontinued its football program in 1939 and withdrew from the conference in 1946. Chicago continues its relationship with the conference as a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the "academic Big Ten". In 1950, Michigan State joined and the conference was again known as the Big Ten. The Big Ten's membership would remain stable for the next 40 years.

The conference’s official name throughout this period remained the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives. It did not formally adopt the name Big Ten until 1987, when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. In 1990, the Big Ten universities voted to expand the conference to 11 teams, and extended an invitation to Penn State, which it accepted.[3] When Penn State joined in 1990, it was decided that the conference would continue to be called the Big Ten, but its logo was modified to reflect the change; the number 11 is disguised in the white areas of the traditionally blue "Big Ten" lettering.

Following the addition of previously independent Penn State, efforts were made to encourage the University of Notre Dame, the last remaining traditionally independent football powerhouse, to join the league. Early in the 20th century, Notre Dame had sought official entry into the Big Ten but was never extended an invitation.[4] However, in 1999, both Notre Dame and the Big Ten entered into private negotiations concerning a possible membership that would include Notre Dame. Although the Notre Dame faculty senate endorsed the idea with a near unanimous vote, the ND board of trustees decided against joining the conference and Notre Dame ultimately withdrew from negotiations. [1] Though the idea has been revisited in the wake of the Atlantic Coast Conference's expansion to 12 teams, neither Notre Dame nor the Big Ten has taken any official action in pursuit of Notre Dame's membership. Notre Dame later joined the Big East Conference in all sports except football, men's lacrosse, and men's hockey.

Other possible universities that have gained favor for any possible expansion for the 12th spot in the conference include the University of Pittsburgh, Rutgers University, University of Missouri, Iowa State University, University of Louisville, and Syracuse University. Due to a requirement of the Big Ten bylaws, any expansion must be within, or next to, current Big Ten territory.

On June 21, 2006, the Big Ten announced new television broadcast agreements. This involved a 10-year extension of its contract with ABC/ESPN as well as the formation of a brand new station, to be the Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Network is a new development, set to begin broadcasting in August 2007, "dedicated to covering both the athletic and academic content of the Big Ten member institutions on a national level".[2] The Big Ten Network represents a 20-year partnership between the Big Ten and Fox. It will be majority-owned by the Big Ten Conference, with Fox holding a minority interest. The official network name and logo were announced on October 12, 2006.[3] The conference announced previously that it is continuing its relationship with CBS and ESPN for network broadcasts in basketball.


The office of the commissioner of athletics was created in 1922 "to study athletic problems of the various member universities and assist in enforcing the eligibility rules which govern Big Ten athletics."[2]

Major John L. Griffith1922-1944died in office
Kenneth L. "Tug" Wilson1944-1961retired
Bill Reed1961-1971died in office
Wayne Duke1971-1989retired
James Delany1989-Present


As of 2006, the Big Ten champion has a tie-in with the Rose Bowl, a BCS bowl. The Big Ten also has tie-ins with six non-BCS bowls. Picks are made after BCS selections; if two Big Ten teams participate in BCS bowls, the bowl with the #2 pick will select the third team from the conference:

  • Capital One Bowl: Orlando, Florida (Big Ten #2 pick against SEC #2 pick)
  • Outback Bowl: Tampa, Florida (Big Ten #3 pick against SEC #3/4 pick)
  • Alamo Bowl: San Antonio, Texas (Big Ten #4/5 pick against Big 12 #4 pick)
  • Champs Sports Bowl: Orlando, Florida (Big Ten #4/5 pick against ACC #4 pick)

In 2006 & 2009, the Champs Sports Bowl has the 4th pick. The Alamo Bowl has the 4th pick in 2007 & 2008

  • Insight Bowl: Tempe, Arizona (Big Ten #6 pick against Big 12 #5 pick)
  • Motor City Bowl: Detroit, Michigan (Big Ten #7 pick against MAC)

From 1946 through 1971, the Big Ten did not allow the same team to represent the conference in consecutive years in the Rose Bowl with an exception made after the 1961 season in which Minnesota played in two consecutive Rose Bowls. It was not until the 1975 season that the Big Ten allowed teams to play in bowl games other than the Rose Bowl. Due to those rules, Big Ten powers such as Michigan and Ohio State have lower numbers of all-time bowl appearances than powerhouse teams from the Big 12 Conference (formerly the Big 8 Conference and Southwest Conference) and Southeastern Conference, which always placed multiple teams in bowl games every year.

Although the pick order usually corresponds to the conference standings, the bowls are not required to make their choices strictly according to the won-lost records; many factors influence bowl selections, especially the turnout of the fans for past bowl games.

See also: Big Ten Conference football champions
See also: Big Ten Conference football individual honors

Men's basketball

The Big Ten has participated in basketball since 1904, and has led the nation in attendance every season since 1978.[5] It has been a national powerhouse in men's basketball, having multiple championship winners and often sending four or more teams to the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Previous NCAA champions include Indiana with five titles, Michigan State with two, and Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio State with one each.[6] Ohio State played in the first NCAA tournament national championship game in 1939, losing to Oregon. Despite this, Jimmy Hull of Ohio State was the first NCAA tournament MVP. The first three tournament MVP's came from the Big Ten (Marv Huffman of Indiana in 1940 and John Katz of Wisconsin in 1941).

Big Ten teams have also experienced success in the postseason NIT. Since 1974 12 Big Ten teams have made it to the championship game, winning eight championships. NIT champions from the Big Ten include Michigan with two, and Indiana, Minnesota, Purdue, and Ohio State with one each.

Since 1999, the Big Ten has taken part in the ACC - Big Ten Challenge with the Atlantic Coast Conference. The ACC holds an 8-0 record against the Big Ten, and Michigan State is the only Big Ten school with a winning record in the challenge.

NCAA tournament champions, runners-up and locations

† denotes overtime games. Multiple †'s indicate more than one overtime.

YearChampionRunner-upVenue and city
1939Oregon46Ohio State33Patten GymnasiumEvanston, Illinois
1940Indiana60Kansas42Municipal AuditoriumKansas City, Missouri
1941Wisconsin39Washington State34Municipal AuditoriumKansas City, Missouri (2)
1953Indiana (2)69Kansas68Municipal AuditoriumKansas City, Missouri (4)
1956San Francisco (2)83Iowa71Welsh-Ryan ArenaEvanston, Illinois (2)
1960Ohio State75California55Cow PalaceSan Francisco, California
1961Cincinnati70Ohio State65Municipal AuditoriumKansas City, Missouri (8)
1962Cincinnati (2)71Ohio State59Freedom HallLouisville, Kentucky (3)
1965UCLA (2)91Michigan80Memorial ColiseumPortland, Oregon
1969UCLA (5)92Purdue72Freedom HallLouisville, Kentucky (6)
1976Indiana (3)86Michigan68SpectrumPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
1979Michigan State75Indiana State64Jon M. Huntsman CenterSalt Lake City, Utah
1981Indiana (4)63North Carolina50SpectrumPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania (2)
1987Indiana (5)74Syracuse73Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, Louisiana (2)
1989Michigan80Seton Hall79KingdomeSeattle, Washington (4)
1992Duke (2)71Michigan51MetrodomeMinneapolis, Minnesota
1993North Carolina (3)77Michigan71Louisiana SuperdomeNew Orleans, Louisiana (3)
2000Michigan State (2)89Florida76RCA DomeIndianapolis, Indiana (4)
2002Maryland64Indiana52Georgia DomeAtlanta, Georgia (2)
2005North Carolina (4)75Illinois70Edward Jones DomeSt. Louis, Missouri (3)
2007Florida (2)84Ohio State75Georgia DomeAtlanta, Georgia (3)

Post-season NIT championships

YearChampionRunner-upMVPVenue and city
1974Purdue87Utah81Mike Sojourner, UtahMadison Square GardenNew York City
1979Indiana53Purdue52Butch Carter and Ray Tolbert, IndianaMadison Square GardenNew York City
1980Virginia58Minnesota55Ralph Sampson, VirginiaMadison Square GardenNew York City
1982Bradley68Purdue61Mitchell Anderson, BradleyMadison Square GardenNew York City
1984Michigan83Notre Dame63Tim McCormick, MichiganMadison Square GardenNew York City
1985UCLA65Indiana62Reggie Miller, UCLAMadison Square GardenNew York City
1986Ohio State73Wyoming63Brad Sellers, Ohio StateMadison Square GardenNew York City
1988Connecticut72Ohio State67Phil Gamble, UConnMadison Square GardenNew York City
1993Minnesota62Georgetown61Voshon Lenard, MinnesotaMadison Square GardenNew York City
2004Michigan62Rutgers55Daniel Horton, MichiganMadison Square GardenNew York City
2006South Carolina76Michigan64Renaldo Balkman, South CarolinaMadison Square GardenNew York City
See also: Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball regular season champions
See also: Big Ten Conference Men's Basketball Tournament
See also: NCAA Men's Division I Tournament Bids By School

Women's basketball

Women's basketball teams have played a total of nine times in the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship (since 1982) and Women's National Invitation Tournament (since 1998). Big Ten women's teams have also led conference attendance from 1993-1999.[7]

NCAA tournament champions, runners-up and locations

YearChampionRunner-upVenue and city
1993Texas Tech84Ohio State74The OmniAtlanta, Georgia
1999Purdue62Duke45San Jose ArenaSan Jose, California
2001Notre Dame68Purdue66Savvis CenterSt. Louis, Missouri
2005Baylor84Michigan State62RCA DomeIndianapolis, Indiana

National Invitation Tournament championship games

YearChampionRunner-upVenue and city
1998Penn State59Baylor56Ferrell CenterWaco, Texas
1999Arkansas67Wisconsin64Bud Walton ArenaFayetteville, Arkansas
2000Wisconsin75Florida74Kohl CenterMadison, Wisconsin
2001Ohio State62New Mexico61University ArenaAlbuquerque, New Mexico
2007Wyoming72Wisconsin56Arena-AuditoriumLaramie, Wyoming
See also: Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball regular season champions
See also: Big Ten Conference Women's Basketball Tournament


Big Ten football

The members of the Big Ten have longstanding rivalries with each other, especially on the football field. Each school has at least one traveling trophy at stake. Some Big Ten rivalries include (with their respective traveling trophy in parentheses):

Furthermore, the Big Ten football schedule is set up with each team having two permanent rivalries within the conference, with the other eight teams in the conference rotating out of the schedule in pairs for two-year stints. Permanent rivalries are as follows:

  • Illinois: Northwestern, Indiana
  • Indiana: Illinois, Purdue
  • Iowa: Minnesota, Wisconsin
  • Michigan: Michigan State, Ohio State
  • Michigan State: Michigan, Penn State
  • Minnesota: Iowa, Wisconsin
  • Northwestern: Illinois, Purdue
  • Ohio State: Michigan, Penn State
  • Penn State: Michigan State, Ohio State
  • Purdue: Indiana, Northwestern
  • Wisconsin: Iowa, Minnesota

Big Ten Basketball

Although not as famous as some schools, Big Ten basketball rivalries are among the best in the nation. Indiana and Purdue have one of the most heated rivalries in college basketball between the two schools with the most Big Ten basketball championships. Michigan and Michigan State have a great in-state rivalry that is well-known across the midwest. Indiana and Illinois share a rivalry which has intensified at times.

Extra-conference rivalries

Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan are among the Big Ten football teams who also have traditional rivalries with Notre Dame.

Penn State had a longstanding rivalry with Pittsburgh of the Big East, but the two schools have not met since 2000. Penn State also had long histories with independent Notre Dame; West Virginia, Syracuse, and Rutgers of the Big East; Maryland and Boston College of the ACC; and Temple, of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Penn State also has strong intrastate rivalries with Patriot League universities Bucknell in men's basketball and Lehigh in wrestling.

Iowa has an in-state rivalry with Iowa State, with the winner getting the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

Indiana has an out-of conference rivalry with Kentucky, but the rivalry has a much higher profile in basketball than in football.

Illinois has a longstanding basketball rivalry with Missouri, with the two men's teams squaring off annually in the "Braggin' Rights" game in St. Louis. This rivalry has been carried over into football with games played at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis in 2002 and 2003 and four games scheduled from 2007 to 2010.[4]

In the early days of the Big Ten, the Chicago-Michigan game was played on Thanksgiving, usually with conference championship implications and was considered one of the first major rivalries of the conference. Also in the early days of the conference, and at Knute Rockne's insistence, Northwestern and Notre Dame had a yearly contest, with the winner taking home a shillelagh, much like the winner of the USC-Notre Dame contest now receives. The Northwestern-Notre Dame shillelagh was largely forgotten by the early 1960's and is now solely an element of college football's storied past.

Wisconsin has a long-standing, in-state basketball rivalry with Marquette. The series has intensified as of late with both teams having made the Final Four in recent years. The schools also played an annual football game before Marquette abandoned its football program in 1961.

Conference facilities

SchoolFootball stadiumStadium capacityBasketball arenaArena capacityBaseball stadiumStadium capacity
IllinoisMemorial Stadium69,249Assembly Hall16,618Illinois Field3,000
IndianaMemorial Stadium50,180Assembly Hall17,456Sembower Field2,250
IowaKinnick Stadium70,585Carver-Hawkeye Arena15,500Duane Banks Field3,000
MichiganMichigan Stadium107,501Crisler Arena13,751Ray Fisher Stadium4,000
Michigan StateSpartan Stadium75,005Breslin Student Events Center14,992John F. Kobs Field4,000
MinnesotaHubert H. Humphrey Metrodome63,669Williams Arena14,321Siebert Field1,500
NorthwesternRyan Field49,256Welsh-Ryan Arena8,117Rocky Miller Park1,000
Ohio StateOhio Stadium101,568Value City Arena19,500Bill Davis Stadium4,450
Penn StateBeaver Stadium107,282Bryce Jordan Center15,261Medlar Field at Lubrano Park5,406
PurdueRoss-Ade Stadium62,500Mackey Arena14,123Lambert Field1,100
WisconsinCamp Randall Stadium80,321Kohl Center17,142No baseball teamN/A

Info courtesy of Wikipedia