Big Ten Conference

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Big Ten Conference

The Big Ten Conference is a college athletic conference located in the northern United States, stretching from Iowa in the west to Pennsylvania in the east. The conference competes in the NCAA's Division I-A. Member schools of the Big Ten conference are also members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a leading educational consortium. Despite the conference's name, since 1990, there have been eleven schools in the conference.

The conference's member schools, ordered by length of continuous membership and alphabetically by each university's common name, are:

Member schools participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track, rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball and wrestling.



The Big Ten was founded in 1895 as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives. The founding member schools included six current members, plus the University of Chicago. The first reference of the conference as The Big Nine was in 1899 after Iowa and Indiana had joined. The first reference as the Big Ten was in 1917 after Michigan rejoined the conference (Ohio State had been added in 1912).

The conference was again known as the Big Nine after the the University of Chicago decided to deemphasize varsity athletics just before World War II. Chicago discontinued football in 1939 and left the Conference in 1946. (Chicago to this day continues its relationship with the conference as a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the "academic Big Ten".) In 1950, Michigan State joined and the conference was again known as the Big Ten.

The conference’s official name throughout the time was still the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives and was also known as the Western Conference. It did not formally adopt the name Big Ten until 1988 when it was incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. When Penn State was added in the early 1990s, it was decided that the name of the conference would stay as the Big Ten, but a logo was adopted that made it clear that the conference has 11 teams. The number eleven is disguised in the white areas of the traditionally blue Big Ten logo.


The office of the commissioner of athletics was created in 1922 "to study athletic problems of the various member universities and assist in enforcing the eligibility rules which govern Big Ten athletics."

  • Major John L. Griffith 1922-1944 (Died)
  • Kenneth L. "Tug" Wilson 1944-1961 (Retired)
  • Bill Reed 1961-1971 (Died)
  • Wayne Duke 1971-1989 (Retired)
  • James E. Delany 1989-


Big Ten Football

The members of the Big Ten have long-standing rivalries with each other, especially on the football field. Many of them have travelling trophies at stake. The annual Michigan-Ohio State matchup at the end of the season (which has no trophy at stake) is probably the most well-known Big Ten rivalry. Some other Big Ten rivalries include (with their respective travelling trophy in parentheses):

Other Rivalries

Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan are among the Big Ten teams who also have traditional rivalries with Notre Dame. Iowa has an in-state rivalry with Iowa State, with the winner getting the Cy-Hawk Trophy. Indiana has an out-of conference rivalry with Kentucky, but the rivalry has a much higher profile in basketball than in football. Illinois has a long-standing basketball rivalry with Missouri, with the two men's teams squaring off annually in the "Braggin' Rights" game in St. Louis. In the early days of the Big Ten, the Chicago-Michigan game drew much national attention and was considered one of the first major rivalries of the conference.

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