More change is coming to the Big Ten and this time it reportedly extends beyond which teams make up one of the nation's top conferences.
According to Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com, the Big Ten will rename its two divisions, currently referred to as "Leaders" and "Legends," in time for the arrival of Rutgers and Maryland in 2014. The Big Ten will instead use geography to identify its groupings, choosing a simple "East" and "West" naming system for the future.
Under the new breakdown, the Big Ten East will reportedly include Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.
Its counterpart, the Big Ten West, will be comprised of Illinois, Iowa,Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, and Wisconsin.
Maryland and Rutgers are set to leave the ACC and the conference formerly known as the Big East (now named the American Athletic Conference) and join the Big Ten for the start of the 2014-15 academic year. Both are part of a larger shift in conference affiliation nationwide that has been driven in large part by the ballooning value of conference television media rights deals.
For the Big Ten, which features its own conference television network, the move to lure Maryland and Rutgers helps to expand the league's footprint toward the valuable Eastern Seaboard and the television markets it represents. For the schools making the moves, it represents an immediate boost in money coming into the school and a chance to grow their respective football programs.