Lessons Learned From B1G Expansion

Submitted by MLaw06 on November 19th, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Lessons Learned:

1. Geography does not matter anymore.

2. The coasts have all the power. The midwest is a shrinking demographic and as the industrial base eventually erodes, the B1G is chasing the engines of the current economy - NY/NJ (and all of the money that trickles down from Wall Street) and DC (and all of the largesse of the federal government). [Note: I live in the NYC metro area and there are lots of Michigan alums here (with disposable income) chomping at the bit to see Michigan games w/in 2-3 hours travel time.]

3. B1G is NOT an elite academic conference. With all due respect to Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (limited only to the Kelley School of Business), the rest of the B1G is a mediocre academic conference. Maryland and Rutgers fit right in - i.e., they are mediocre state schools (or slightly worse, since they are in states that only respect private universities).

[EDIT ON 3:  I think all I really meant to say here was that Maryland and Rutgers are really no worse than the bulk of the B1G (excluding, Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana (which, in my humble opinion, are much better academic schools than the average B1G school)).]

4. CONSOLIDATION. Just like in any other industry, consolidation brings strength and economies of scale via creative destruction. TV networks want to sign deals with a few powerhouse conference "brands". If you're in one of these new "brands", you are relevant; if not, then you might as well be DII or DIII.

5. The future is nothing like the past. Those who can cherish the past, but accept the future are the happiest folks of all. This applies to any change, whether it be changes to athletic conferences, job changes or national/international changes.

[PERSONAL NOTE: I just got power back a few days ago!!! Hurricane Sandy was awful(I will post pictures when I have some time). I missed a few football/basketball games w/o tv, but I'm thankful for MGoBlog because I was able to check in from time to time to watch highlights of the games. Thanks all!]



November 19th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

I know there's one person in Maryland who isn't happy about this:


Also it sucks that by the time I'll get older, winning the Big Ten and going to the Rose Bowl will be a thing of the past


November 19th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

1. The B1G is contiguous. Still.

2. What?

3. The B1G has better academics than most conferences. The PAC 12 and ACC are the only others that compare.

4. I'll give you this one.

5. What?


November 19th, 2012 at 12:10 PM ^

It's not my view per se, but I was trying to think of "motives" for why B1G would chase after Maryland and Rutgers (when in fact, both programs, if they were private entities, are insolvent).  In my view, B1G has boatloads of money today, but they want to achieve future revenue growth by tapping into the rich and large New York, Philadelphia, DC and Baltimore tv markets. 


November 19th, 2012 at 11:42 AM ^

The most meaningful measure of academics for the purpose of the CIC is research dollars generated. The Big Ten is far and away the best conference for research academics, and it's not close (this includes the Ivy League).

Check out this diary I did on the subject last year. I think it brings the point home nicely.

Also, you're not very informed about the undergraduate and graduate prestige of a lot of the Big Ten programs. IU Jacobs, Kelley and SPEA are all considered elite schools in their respective areas of study, not to mention a lot of other fields at a lot of other schools that are apparently worthless because you think so.


November 19th, 2012 at 11:51 AM ^

Ranking based on "aggregate" research dollars generated will strongly favor large institutions.  For example, MSU has an enrollment of approximately 35,000, while Stanford has an enrollment of approximately 7,000.  I can imagine that MSU has a higher amount of aggregate research dollars generated than Stanford, but if you tell me that MSU has a higher "per capita" amount of research dollars generated than Stanford, I would be (quite frankly) surprised.

That being said, I agree that there are many good/great programs at B1G schools (other than at Michigan, Northwestern and Indiana).  I was being slightly tongue in cheek because I was reading many arguments that Rutgers and Maryland fall far below the B1G's academic bands. 

I took a glance through your diary and I appreciate all of the research and data you provided.  I will take a closer look later today because I find it interesting.  Thanks.


November 19th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

but that's also mitigated somewhat by the ridiculous amount of dollars flowing into medical schools. From what I remember from writing that diary (I'm pretty sure the Exel document is gone now, so I can't verify this without some legwork), the Big Ten would slide behind the Ivy League but would stay on top of the ACC and Pac 12 on a per capita basis.

Also note that IU's medical school numbers aren't included in that analysis, while all ACC and Pac schools have their research dollars included. Oregon and FSU getting as few grants as they do probably hurts the ACC/Pac's numbers more than the bigger graduate schools at MSU and OSU.

Glad to hear you're okay after Sandy, and welcome back to the future with electricity and all.


November 19th, 2012 at 12:05 PM ^

I'm stating that the Big Ten pumps out more research than the Ivy League does, which is a fact. Whether, like MLaw06 noted above, this outweighs their (likely, I don't have the numbers to verify this in front of me) advantage at dollars/capita is another story, but the Big Ten brings in more research grants on a per school and total basis than the Ivy's do.


November 19th, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Undergrad education and entities like business schools and law schools have very, very little to do with the educational benefits of the consortium. The former is just not that involved in cooperative acadmics and the latter are largely self-contained entities, at least for students. The humanities and social sciences see some minimal benefits in terms of conferences, fellowships, and grad program exchanges. The biggest winners by far are in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) and medical, where a lot of collaborative research with very lucrative federal grants can be done (and Maryland's proximity to DC hooks the consortium into potential cooperation with whole coterie of federal agencies).


November 19th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

With regard to #3 I definitely think the Big Ten is still a top academic conference. Granted, aside from Michigan and Northwestern it isnt fantastic compared to all schools nationally, but compared to ATHLETIC conferences that are major players (so the Ivy League for instance doesnt count) honestly the ACC/Pac-12/Big Ten are light years ahead of the 4th best conference in terms of academics.


November 19th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I am looking forward to the economies of scale and the Big Ten Network eventually competing with ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.

Shows like the "S Factor" where walk-ons compete for scholarships.

Or "Survivor: Columbus"

Or "Desperate Sideline Reporters"

the possibilites!





November 19th, 2012 at 12:02 PM ^

Customer: Hey, I got this signed Archie Griffin football from his second Heisman year. It's in perfect condition and has been sitting on my gramp's mantel since the 70's, encased in glass. I got offered $1500 for it last year by Archie Griffin himself, and an auction house declared I could expect at least $1250 for it if I put it up for auction with them right now. I want $1250 for it.

Joe Billy Nutlicker, proprietor: Ok. I'll tell you, I want this. Badly, in fact. I'll give you $5 dollars for it.

Customer: But it's worth at least $1000, minimum. I want $900, at least.

Joe Billy Nutlicker: Ok, but I still have to make money on it. I'll give you $25 for it, because you seem like a nice guy.

Customer: I'll take it. There's a Boren jersey selling like hotnuts down the street!


November 19th, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

The Big Ten is not a mediocre academic conference. We're not far and away the best like some think, but when expanding, we are going after large flagship universities, and it helps if the schools don't have much competition within their own state. Nebraska is a great football program, but Maryland and Rutgers, as academic institutions, are large and have no peers within their state. There is upside with these schools if they do benefit financially from this deal and are able to grow academically and athletically. 


Naked Bootlegger

November 19th, 2012 at 11:50 AM ^

I currently work as a researcher at the Univ. of Wisconsin.   It brings in gobs of research $$$ and has a great reputation as a public university.   There are a lot of fantastic research institutions in the B1G.    ACC + B1G + PAC, to me, are the best academic + athletics conferences.




November 19th, 2012 at 11:58 AM ^

the academic argument is just false

Purdue, Illinois, and Michigan all are elite engineering schools, with NW and Maryland! not far behind

Michigan and NW are elite medical schools, with Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State, Indiana, and Iowa all top 50

Michigan and NW are elite law schools, with Minn top 25 with Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio State, and Wisconsin top 50

NW and Michigan are elite business schools, with Indiana near that status, and the usual big ten members (above) also top 50ish

This is all not even including CIC member university of Chicago, which is elite in all these categories but engineering. 

Space Coyote

November 19th, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

Is that the bulk of the B1G is better than almost everyother conference. We love to bash OSU (it is hate week after all), but they are actually a really good academic institution. MSU, for it's part, is a great number two large in-state university.

Maryland has a very good engineering program and solid medical and business if I'm not mistaken. Outside of Nebraska (who was a big stretch academically but made a lot of sense athletically) the B1G is still the best academic division I conference in the nation (probably followed close behind by PAC 12 and ACC).

EDIT: With Rutgers and Maryland, the B1G has 10/12 schools (including those two schools) in the top 75 universities in the nation. This is more than any other conference. I counted I believe 9 and 8 (including the new ACC teams in the ACC) for the ACC and PAC 12, respectively.


November 19th, 2012 at 12:20 PM ^

Even Nebraska probably got a lot of support from the Illinois, Iowa and MSU faculties. Their agricultural science/engineering is something other agricultural science/engineering folk get excited about.

I'm not naive enough to think that had anything to do with them being added or not, but I'm sure it was number 36 or 57 or something on the list of "plusses" for Nebraska joining the conference.


November 19th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

Fair, but Illinois is an elite engineering school, and a strong public university.... Wisconsin has actually made a great case for its undergraduate program as well.  Frankly, the best Academic legit conferences are the ACC (Duke, UNC, GaTech, Wake, BC) and the PAC (Stanford, Cal, UCLA, USC)  


November 19th, 2012 at 12:18 PM ^

Wisconsin, Penn State are much better overall.  OSU probably is as well (so is Maryland).

Indiana has a good business school and pretty decent humanities.  



November 19th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

why the hoosier hate? indiana has a great medical school in addition to a top-flight business school. they also have a good music school and are a really solid public school altogether, much better than say kentucky. i'd but them a notch below wisconsin but on the same level as psu

i'm not as familiar with maryland, but know they have a solid engineering program


November 19th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

it's reality. We weren't talking about Kentucky, we were talking about the Big Ten.


Indiana set up its universities so that they'd be great at certain things (Purdue is engineering, aviation, etc, IU is business, humanities, medicine).


A PSU undergraduate degree (along with Wisconsin and OSU) is better than an IU degree in general.



eamus_caeruli (not verified)

November 19th, 2012 at 2:37 PM ^

Seriously!! WTF!  You chose Indiana as an upper tier BIG school?  Umm, you don't think that Wisconsin, who generates nearly 6.5 billion(that's billion with a b) in research dollars annually, isn't an academic powerhouse?  Purdue doesn't have an elite engineering school?  Nor does Illinois, who apparently doesn't do NASA level research on their campus? 

Indiana in my mind is not that great.  Good Med school, ed and b-schools, not even close to UW, NW, UofM, etc.  

If your name indicates you went to law school, ask for a refund, and change careers.  Horrible argument.  

This expansion is terrible.  Has nothing to do with ND.  ND screwed themselves, and will get theirs.  They will be grasping for straws soon enough.  

I want to become an independent.  How is Brandon going to spin this when there is so much outrage.  As an Alum, I hope that smarter people start making good choices, and kill this deal right quick.  Prezi's still need to vote, as well as AD's.  Kill it Brandon!  The only people who are for this are east coasters, who selfishly want to destory a great conference for the sake of driving to College Park, MD and Piscatoway, NJ once a decade.  Good Luck with that one!  You already have the BIG network.  BIG looks desparate and pathetic.  So pissed off... 


November 19th, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

I don't know why you're getting so angry.  Honestly, it doesn't change so much for Michigan, except that now we have to play Illinois every single year, and the rotation of Leaders matchups gets stretched out a bit more.