Scene: A little-used back room of the Palmer House in Chicago, its walls lined with trophies honoring the conference's academic achievements, and tasteful sweaters. A group of men and a duck mill about, most huddled around a smartphone showing walrus porn. One is eyeing the gilded stand lamps, apparently wondering if they're bolted down. They are watched by a shadowy figure in a ski mask. JIM DELANEY enters…
: The Big Ten Emergency Meeting on Recruiting Top Talent to the Midwest will now come to order. B1G T3N Divisions, ROLL CALL:
: Dammit Barry.
: I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce our two newest members, Notre Dame and Texas.
: Hark, fair commissariat, thou speakest in error, for surely thou didst mean mineself and mine good compatriot of Mary's land.
: Undoubtedly the stout knave is expecting some manner of riposte.
[More. Oh so much more, after the JUMP!]
: [Sigh] Okay okay. Guys just answer 42.
: Say 134.
: A hundred and thirty four.
: Enough. Now listen, I've called this meeting because someone—and I'm not going to say who—is concerned that we're not recruiting up to the standards of the SEC…
: [Rabble rabble rabble rabble]
: …which we are clearly still superior to in every way.
: It cannot be that bad.
: It is. It's so bad that Vanderbilt pulled down a better class than all but three of you.
: And sanction-wracked Penn State had the next-best class in our conference. Which reminds me, Bill, the NCAA says if you're to participate here you need to have a least one of your appendages immersed in lava the entire time. See to it.
: Got it boss. [finds lava receptacle]
: He's right guys. I've got my people out there buying Nissans and tricked-out apartments, all to keep these kids in the Midwest, and suddenly I hear y'all just—AHEM—you all just let a five-star receiver walk right out the back door.
: Wait, Spend money? I thought we had an understanding here…
: Verily. 'Tis not mere currency that be th'apple of recruits' desire, but the tan'd skin of fair southern damsels. Ere we could discover some method of applying tans upon our coeds…
: No, they pay them.
: (UUUAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!! UWAAHHHHH WUAAAAHHHHH! THE PAAAAAAIN!)
: Sadly, I think Urban speaks the truth. Just the other month I had one of my kids come up to me—real hard-nosed kid, a guy I was sure was solid to Wisconsin since he coached us to three Rose Bowls—and told me he was transferring to Arkansas because they were going to offer him money for his services. Kid even had the gall to ask if I'd match! I was like 'You coach at WISCONSIN and that's not good enough for you?!'
: Waitaminute, Bret gave you the opportunity to match and you turned him down?
: We don't buy our recruits here Urban.
: Bullshit! That school up north just signed a class almost as good as mine. What're you paying, Brady, $8k per five-star, $2k per four star, 40-time bonuses, what is it?
: We offer them MICHIGAN.
: That's not…that's just the name of your school!
: We tell them they are becoming 1/115th of a team, and when you put them all together you get MICHIGAN. That's a football team.
: I know it's a… C'mon seriously, we're all friends here, what is it, like stock options in Ross's ventures or something?
: Eleven National Championships. We're building young Americans.
: Really, that's not how we do things here, Urbz. We offer them admission and scholarships to our top-rated academic institutions, and we commit to preparing them to achieve after football.
: Sadly, Mr. Fitzgerald here is correct. We all agreed before you got here Mr. Meyer that no school can offer players extra benefits unless everyone in Ohio says it's okay.
: You can't pay them? But then what did you do with the piles and piles of money me and the Chris Christie lookalike over here made for you last year?
: Um, paid the heating bill?
: Our Wrestling team this spring will be moving into a 900-acre palace modeled after Versailles and constructed entirely of gold-enameled corn.
: And we are building a massive biological laboratory in an underground bunker outside Urbana where we hope to one day engineer a human being capable of throwing a football.
: Have you tried using Dinosaur DNA? We've had some success in splicing Tyrannosaurs with white running backs and California citrus growers.
: Are you sure? Have you looked into offensive lines—?
: Stop! Illinois, you agreed no more lab experiments until you clean up the all the Zook you spilled.
: If I may make a suggestion...
: AAAHHH! Mark, I told you: never have that mask on when you're speaking to me. How do I know you're not scowling at me under there?
: Now what's your suggestion?
: We're fighting a war on two fronts; what if we make that just one?
: You mean just play basketball?
: He means attack the SEC's dorms but…
: No, I mean what if we just play DEFENSE. Forget about offensive recruits and just have our defenses go head to head every game.
: This idea has some merit.
: I could go for this if we can find some way to incorporate running backs.
: You can't be serious. JIM!
: We're NOT doing away with offense. We just need to come up with some things we can offer to recruits other than cash and things you can buy with cash. Let's brainstorm.
<writes "THINGS TO OFFER RECRUITS" on blackboard>
: I am opening the floor to suggestions. Yes, Brady.
: That's a state not something you offer a recruit. Anyone else?
: Well I…no it's stupid.
: There's no such thing as a stupid idea Jerry, unless someone outside of this room came up with it. Go on.
: I was just thinking if the SEC is stockpiling top recruits and summarily cutting the ones that aren't going to play, then maybe we could offer kids the opportunity to, you know, actually play college football.
: I don't understand, why would they want that?
: ! MARIMBA!
: The hell?
: Hark, I recognize that cry! It be that foul grenade from last night's smushening, turned stage five clinger demon!
: Sorry everyone. Sorry. I gotta take this.
: Sup, KILLZ. Jus' checkin to see if you've got that RB depth chart ready yet. Where my bro? He startin' right?
: Bray-man, I told you not 'till spring…
: Yeah, okay, we'll put 'PLAYING TIME' down with a question mark next to it.
: Right right. So how many carries are we talkin' about for next year 'cause I was thinking like 35 a game or so…we don't want to wear him out tho. Maybe he could play quarterback half the time or somethin.
: Fine fine we can talk about this later. Bye. <click>
: Other ideas?
: Well I say we all cut every sport except football and basketball.
: Just think about it—recruits wouldn't have to share equipment or space with, like, or rowers, or girls. I think that'd be a big selling point.
: No! Anybody else?
: Well we did this 'Circle of Trust' thing at Florida, where if you're a top recruit you can smoke pot and stuff without getting in trouble.
: U got a jersey picked out? Cuz u know he Number 1.
: How about Tradition!
: Excellent. More ideas!
: What do you mean by that?
: I don't know, it sounded good.
: Yeah, Power word!
: Okay, opportunity.
: National relevance!
: Great! We're really cookin' here guys.
: A massive stadium that will always be full no matter how much you charge for tickets!
: Rose Bowls!
: Oooh. Yeah. Good one. Eeeeeee Rose Bowls.
: Great rivalries! Ha, suck it Brady!
: Academic excellence.
: …cellence. Okay guys this is great! Now, how do we sell all of this stuff to recruits?
: C'mon people don't we have ANYTHING in this conference that really sums up to recruits that we've got all of this great tradition, opportunity, location, national relevance, defense, stadium draws, Rose Bowls, rivalry games, and academic excellence? Yes, Brady.
Meanwhile, in the actual Big Ten headquarters, another meeting is underway
: And so, since there are no objections, I officially welcome UConn, the Nova Scotia School for Mimes, and Mrs. Ruiz's Third Grade Class to the newly christened Fight Win Inspiration Leadership Mustache Conference, and submit that the divisions be aligned so that the Oaken Bucket is the only rivalry.