When the Big Ten conference announced realignment plans for 2011, the new Legends and Leaders divisions were met with harsh criticism. With the addition of Rutgers and Maryland in 2014, the conference is looking to realign again with the hopes of positive feedback from fans. It is expected that the conference president and chancellors will approve new divisions and division names based on geography rather than competitive balance for the 2014 season.
Currently, the conference is broken down into the Legends (Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern ) and Leaders (Indiana, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin) divisions.
If the alignment proposal is approved, the Big Ten will scrap the Legends and Leaders brand and rename the divisions on a geographic basis: Big Ten East (Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers ) and Big Ten West (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin). Additionally, come 2016, the conference will adopt a nine-game conference schedule over the current eight-game requirement.
The conference’s top brass hope the new divisions and division names will quell the negative reaction from the current Legends and Leaders divisions.