Big Ten's new divisions: Legends and Leaders

  • Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, here speaking with Nebraska's athletic officials last June, revealed the conference's names for its two divisions on Monday.

    Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, here speaking with Nebraska's athletic officials last June, revealed the conference's names for its two divisions on Monday. Associated Press

  • The newly designed logo for the Big Ten Conference.

    The newly designed logo for the Big Ten Conference.

  • The Big Ten logo with the two new football divisions: Legends and Leaders.

    The Big Ten logo with the two new football divisions: Legends and Leaders.

  • New Big Ten divisions

    Graphic: New Big Ten divisions (click image to open)

 
Associated Press
Updated 12/13/2010 6:37 PM

When the Big Ten plays its first conference championship game next season, it'll be the Leaders division against the Legends division.

The conference, expanding to 12 teams in all sports and adding divisions and a championship game in football starting next season, on Monday also unveiled a new logo and 18 football awards, each named after two standout Big Ten performers.

 

"The Legends, not too hard in that we have 215 College Football Hall of Fame members, we have 15 Heisman Trophy winners," Commissioner Jim Delany said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We thought it made perfect sense to recognize the iconic and the legendary through the naming of the division in that regard. ... We've had plenty of leaders in the conference, that's for sure, but the emphasis here is to recognize the mission of using intercollegiate athletics and higher education to build future leaders."

With Nebraska becoming the conference's 12th team next year, the conference created new divisions that it introduced in September. Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin will be in the Leaders Division, with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern in the Legends Division.

Delany said the conference had considered naming the divisions after coaches, players, commissioners and faculty but it was too difficult to single out just two. It also disdained from going with compass points since geography had been only the third consideration when the conference announced the divisional setup three months ago.

Asked if Leaders and Legends was too bland, or not unique to the Big Ten, Delany responded, "All I can tell you is that we thought long and hard about what not to do. We thought harder about what to do."

The logo is a block "Big Ten" which includes an homage to the original 10 members with those numerals embedded in the last two letters of the word BIG.

The conference also introduced 18 new football awards which will be presented starting in 2011 with the advent of divisional play and Nebraska joining the fold.