The Big Ten is the oldest football conference in the United States, founded in 1895 by Purdue, Wisconsin, Chicago, Michigan, Northwestern, and Illinois. By 1946, the group had grown to include Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Iowa, while Chicago had left. In 2011, Nebraska joined as the 12th member.
The Big Ten has been considered a major power during its existence, with most of its members being among the top 20 college football programs of all time. However, it lost many of its members over time, including to other conferences. Currently, only Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Nebraska remain from its founding members.
Ohio State became a founding member of the Big Ten on December 18, 1896. The Buckeyes played their first game against Wisconsin that same day in Columbus, Ohio. The game ended in a 0-0 tie. Bill Kerns was the referee for the game. $5,000 was offered as a prize for a winner. Both schools agreed on a second game to be played the following year in Chicago, where Ohio State would win 7-6. This game served as the official opening act for the new ballpark, Wrigley Field. Wisconsin then moved to Minneapolis to become part of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now the Western Collegiate Conference).
Michigan followed Ohio State into the Big Ten on January 30, 1902.
The Big Ten, which was founded in 1896 and is the NCAA's oldest Division I college league, will welcome two new teams this summer in Maryland and Rutgers. Did you know the University of Chicago was one of the first members? Or that Michigan was barred from playing in the conference for a decade? Or that Pennsylvania and West Virginia also joined at that time? The original members were the University of Illinois, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Minnesota University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago, and Wisconsin University.
Here are the initial members of the Big Ten Conference: University of Illinois, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Minnesota University, Ohio State University, Purdue University, University of Chicago, and Wisconsin University. These six schools formed their own "District" within the Western Intercollegiate Athletic Association (now known as the Midwest Conference). The other members of the WIAA District were Carnegie Mellon University, Notre Dame College, University of Pittsburgh, and Washington & Jefferson College. All sports except football were played during this period. In 1913, Michigan State University left the WIAA District and began an independent schedule.
In 1917, Ohio State University and University of Chicago decided to end their athletic relations with the other members of the WIAA District and join what was then called the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association (now known as the East Coast Conference).
The "Big Ten" really refers to the "Big Fourteen." In 1895, the Big Ten Conference was formed as an athletic conference. Purdue University founded the conference, which was initially known as the Big Nine and subsequently as the Western Conference. Six schools have now joined the conference.
Purdue had been a member of the Missouri Valley Conference until 2011 when it left for financial reasons. The move to the Big Ten brought about more money for the school because it shares revenue with other schools in the league. This means that every dollar that Purdue makes on athletics it splits with another school in the league. For example, if Purdue made $1 million from sports last year then it would split the check with Illinois, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. If one of those schools dropped basketball for football then Purdue would keep all of the money without sharing it with anyone else.
Illinois, Michigan State, and Wisconsin are known as the "Power Five" conferences. They account for five of the six largest programs in terms of fan base and budget. The other large program not affiliated with any conference is Notre Dame which plays college football independent of any league or conference. It is owned and operated by the Catholic Church through the University of Notre Dame.
There are three ways that a team can leave the Big Ten: resignation, dissolution, or petitioning for independence. A school can resign by writing a letter stating its intention to withdraw from the conference.
Some names granted to athletic organisations are as perplexing as so many aspects of higher education these days. The name "Big Ten" came about when Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio joined the conference.
The term "big ten" also has been used to describe other conferences with more than 10 members. For example, the "big ten" basketball conferences are usually considered to be the Ivy League, the Pac-12, and the ACC. The "big ten" football conferences are usually considered to be the Ivy League and the Big 12. The "big ten" for baseball teams is usually considered to be the American League and National League systems. However, some sports journalists include the CAA in this group.
In addition to these major sports leagues, other conferences are sometimes referred to as the "big ten" by pundits who follow college sports closely; however, they are not member institutions of those conferences. For example, most people refer to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) as the "big ten" because it has more football powerhouses than any other conference. However, since Florida joined the SEC in 1992, no school from the "Big Ten" has been a member of that league.
The Big Ten Conference The Big Ten Conference, originally known as the Western Intercollegiate Conference, is one of the oldest college sports leagues in the United States, having been founded in 1896 by the colleges of Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as Purdue and Northwestern. All but Northwestern have remained members since their founding, with the exception of Pennsylvania's Carnegie-Mellon University, which joined as a permanent member in 2002.
The original members were all Protestant institutions located in the Midwest that had been forced to leave their former conferences because of religious discrimination. They included both undergraduate and graduate schools at each institution. Although most members are now public universities, they still maintain significant autonomy over most aspects of their operation including football and basketball.
Membership applications were also considered from Colorado State College (now Colorado State University) and Missouri Valley College (now Missouri Valley University), but neither school joined the conference until many years after their initial applications were rejected. In addition, Yale University applied for membership but did not join until 1941.
Of the current members, only Indiana University has never had a female president or chancellor. Ohio State University has had three females serve as presidents: Jane Campbell Wright, Mary Lou Retton, and Joyce McConnell Barnhart. Additionally, Iowa State University has had three females serve as presidents: Margaret Heckler, Susan Herbst, and Kirk Schulz.