For me, the participation of schools exclusively from the Midwest was what made the Big Ten charming and appealing. I could live with our struggles in national championships and bowl games because the Big Ten comprised my entire football world. I felt all warm inside when Wisconsin played Iowa, or Purdue played Illinois.
Even being a Michigan graduate, I’d follow all the Big Ten games in the paper and watch them when available on television. Midwestern imagery came to my mind. I cared about the conference rivalries and the Big Ten championship. I didn’t welcome the addition of Penn State, but I lived with it since Pennsylvania borders Ohio and Lake Erie, and since the state’s Western side is Midwest-like, culturally. And it was only one outsider anyway.
But now, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is inviting New York City and Washington D.C. onto the farm. This, along with Dave Brandon’s references to the Michigan “brand,” is just too much for me. I hope that advertisements in Michigan Stadium aren’t next, but I can’t say I’d be shocked by anything in a world where money trumps everything.
1984 University alum