Monday, December 13, 2010

What's In A Big Ten Name And Logo?

Okay, we get it. It’s about history, core values and tradition. Still, when the Big Ten announced that it was calling its new divisions “Legends” and “Leaders,” we didn’t know what to say.

We still don’t.

Nobody divides its conference into divisions and come up with names like this. Of course, the Big Ten has never followed the norm. It’s always been about that bold new frontier, except when it comes to a college football playoff, when it turns into Scrooge, regardless of commissioner Jim Delany’s spin.

The word was the league considered calling the divisions Schembechler and Hayes after Hall of Fame coaches Bo Schembechler of Michigan and Woody Hayes of Ohio State, but figured that unnecessarily highlighted them over so many other outstanding contributors.

So the LEADERS division will consist of Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

The LEGENDS division will have Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Northwestern.

“‘Legends’ is a nod to our history and to the people associated with our schools who are widely recognized as legends -– student-athletes, coaches, alumni and faculty,” Delany said in a Big Ten release. “‘Leaders’ looks to the future as we remain committed to fostering leaders, the student-athletes who are encouraged to lead in their own way for the rest of their lives, in their families, in their communities and their chosen professions.”

League officials had months to come up with this. It was last summer when Nebraska bolted the Big 12 for the Big Ten to give the conference 12 teams and the option to divide into divisions and host a conference championship game.

That game will come next December at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

“When we announced football division alignments in September, other associated decisions had not yet been made,” Delany said. “We wanted to take some time to listen, carefully consider and make choices that would best honor our history and traditions, reflect our core values and characteristics, and tell our story. We involved many thoughtful, dedicated professionals. We listened to many ideas from our member schools, alumni and fans.”

Also, the Big Ten came up with 18 trophies to honor coaches, teams and players, starting next season. Indiana is represented by the Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award for former IU All-America tailback Anthony Thompson, plus the Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the year for former Big Ten MVP and Hoosier quarterback Antwaan Randle El.

Finally, there is the new Big Ten logo that was developed by the international design firm Pentagram. We’ll let the release explain it.

“The new Big Ten logo was developed to symbolize the conference’s future, as well as its rich heritage, strong tradition of competition, academic leadership and passionate alumni, designer Michael Gericke said. “It’s contemporary collegiate lettering includes an embedded numeral ‘10’ in the word BIG, which allows fans to see BIG and 10 in a single word. Memorable and distinctive, the new logo evolved from the previous logo’s use of negative space and is built on the conference’s iconic name, without reference to the number of member institutions.”

In other words, no mention that the Big Ten actually has 12 teams.

“The new logo provides a contemporary indentifying mark unifying 12 outstanding institutions,” Delany said. “It conveys some elements from the past while simultaneously introducing new features. We think the new logo is fun and has something for everyone.”

Is it? What do you think of the new logo and division names? Do they sound cool or cheesy? Let us know.


  1. Clever logo. Not sure about the division names.

  2. The division names are bad. The logo is ok. I really like the way they named the awards.

  3. Both the logo and the division names are pathetically sophomoric at best. In fact they are nearly an embarrassment to anyone or team associated with them. I believe that a grade school child could have come up with something more appealing for all concerned. To simplify, they suck really bad.

  4. The names are pretentious and the logo is plain, boring, and not clever. I can't believe this is what they came up with after months of planning and research.