Hawks Talk B1G Expansion
This story originally published on HawkeyeInsider.com

HI.com Publisher
Posted Nov 19, 2012


In a world of change, college athletics keeps pace. The Big Ten added Maryland on Monday and Rutgers is expected to join the conference soon. Former Hawkeye athletes others connected to the Iowa program sound off on the movement.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - The Big Ten took the baton and ran with it as it pertains to the money grab in high revenue college athletics. The league headquartered in Chicago and full of Midwest programs officially added Maryland on Monday.

No offense intended to the Terps. They're strong on the field of play throughout their sports department and in the classroom. The campus is awesome.

The same can be said of Rutgers (minus the campus-awesome part). The Scarlett Knights are expected to be announced as the league's 14th school in the near future.

The decision to expand is driven by the dollar. It pushes the league into two strong media markets.

It does little to improve a dismal football performance by the conference this fall. Rutgers has a decent squad and could improve with better facilities. Maryland's basketball program is on the rise.

No one can blame the Big Ten for chasing the buck. And in this day an age of cannibalism in big money sports, better to do the eating than be eaten.

What sucks is if it affects the fans. It would blow if rivalries take a hit. In the end, that's life when it's about the money.

At what point do players see more of this money pouring in? Not anytime soon.

Yes, education is valuable. They travel first class. Facilities are great, but the sport becomes work for these guys.

That's just one man's opinion, though. Let's hear from some guys who know a heck of a lot more than do I:

"I am disappointed by the manipulation of the schedules. I was not a fan back when they made the legends and leaders decision. It is ridiculous that Iowa and Wisconsin won't play each other for 4 years. That was a great rivalry. Unfortunately, the fans aren't allowed to vote on these decisions."

Tyler Luebke, Former Iowa DT, Local Realtor

"I think it's great. It's great for recruiting. It's great for seeing different places when you travel. It's great being able to meet new people from different regions. The money is always good so players are more comfortable working in their facilities. The better you feel about your facilities the more you want to be there."

Adam Gettis, Washington Redskins/Iowa O-Lineman

"Personally, I value the tradition of the Big Ten Conference and its rivalries. I woudn't mind if we added one more team to the conference- the one that makes the most sense to me because of location and tradition is Notre Dame. I wouldn't want to conference to get too big though. I actually don't like the fact that we don't play Wisconsin- they are a border rival and I think those types of game keep fans and players involved.

"I understand the money drives the bus today, but the Big Ten is a conference rich with tradition and history, which I think is important to keep in tact. Hope this answers your question. If it doesn't, let me know how I can be of more help."

Matt Hughes, Former Iowa LB, Local Coach/Businessman

"I don't really like it, to be honest. I just don't think that those teams fit the style that the big ten plays."

Ross Pierschbacher, Cedar Falls Junior OT, National Recruit

"With respect to the expansion of the Big Ten, I believe that many of the traditional rivalries that players and fans have come to know over several decades will be diminished in certain ways and, from that perspective, there will likely be initial push back to the conference realignment. Moreover, the long-standing geographic make-up of the Big Ten had been conducive to travel-friendly schedules that enable student-athletes to miss fewer classes during conference play and enable the families of many student-athletes to more easily attend games, home and away. As a former Hawkeye player from Indiana, I used to look forward to playing so many of the conference games within a 2-3 hour radius from my Fort Wayne family and friends (e.g., Michigan/Michigan State; Indiana/Purdue; Illinois/Northwestern; Wisconsin and Ohio State).

"However, that being said, there is a tremendous financial upside to the addition of east coast schools like Maryland and Rutgers. Obviously, the domino effect of the Big Ten Network's ability to expand its brand into the New York/New Jersey/Washington DC media markets, and beyond, will likely result in additional revenue for the network and the Big Ten's member institutions. Those revenues can be used to provide state of the art facilities for more schools, not just a select few with powerhouse football programs. In addition, the projected new revenue will likely enable more schools to charter flights for more of their respective teams, which would likely make-up for the additional miles that teams must travel under the expanded Big Ten conference alignment.

"I must admit, watching the newly added team(s) compete within the Big Ten will be a bit strange at first. But as for whether "strange" has a positive or negative tilt, only time will tell."

Tiffany Gooden, Former Iowa Basketball, Attorney

First of all, a special welcome to Rutgers and Maryland to a great conference. Ironically I was at espn.com just yesterday [before B10 expansion] and I realized that the BIG10 had 12 teams and the BIG12 has 10 teams. The madness. Will the BIG10 change its name now that we have 14 teams? The great 14 teams brought to you by the number…10? Sesame Street is going to Elmo.

As for the expansion, I think that it's great from a competition perspective. Iowa has always welcomed competition regardless of where it comes from. I think it also strengthens the conference as a whole which is vital considering where the other major conferences stand. Recruiting wise, it opens the door to a wider audience which might have some positive implications.

Then, of course, there are the monetary benefits from adding two large and prestigious institutions. Again, this adds stability and many perks. That's not to say the BIG10 is hurting in this area. And that's also not to say that having more money, more facilities, more whatever has only positive effects. I think that the result isn't always the intention and vice versa.

I don't think (traveling farther East) a major (factor). Then again, I think home field advantage is a misrepresented theory also. Instead of travel, I focus more on the restructuring of the conference and the possible outcomes from it.

I think rivalries are one of the most important and fun things about college football. Not playing Wisconsin and Illinois for 3 years seems a shame and it dissolves some of the rivalry’s reputation. It’s something to review in the future. You also have the Big East which is crumbling before its own eyes. What’s the message?

Now we’ll have odd numbered divisions in the future which is a bit clumsy. What could potentially happen is Maryland and Rutgers could join the Leaders Division for location purposes. That would bump 2 other teams from the Leaders Division and into the Legends Division. Again for location reasons, I think Wisconsin and Illinois make the most sense. These are logical moves for power balance considerations too. But we shall see.

Overall, I think it’s a positive move for Rutgers, Maryland, and the BIG10 [aka Fabulous 14]. Moves like this could lead to other competition boosting changes too. I’d be interested in seeing us take it a step further and move to a 9 game conference schedule.

That said, I hope the BIG10 doesn’t get into the business of adding teams just to add them or because other major conferences are doing so. It takes away from the purity of the game. Pretty soon we’ll be the BIG20; Fresno St. vs. Syracuse doesn’t sound so hot.

Tom Busch, Former Iowa Fullback, Football Coach

More opinions will be added as responses come in from other Iowa athletes. Fans here are fortunate to have great representation in their student-athletes…


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