Thursday, August 4, 2011

IU Braces for Swift Two-Sport Athlete; Big Ten Goes To Nine-Game Conference Season

Who said the era of multi-sport college athletes is dead?

Nick Stoner is proving it’s very much alive. The freshman from Center Grove High School looks to be an instant impact football player this season. He also has signed to run track for the Hoosiers in the spring.

Stoner helped Center Grove win the state track championship by winning state titles in the 100 meters (10.54 seconds) and 200 meters (21.46). He also set personal bests of 48.46 seconds in the 400 meters and 46.6 seconds in a split in the 400 relay.

IU track coach Ron Helmer is glad Stoner can help the Hoosiers in both sports.

“Nick is a football recruit who really come into his own this year in track and field,” Helmer said in a university release. “He has great range and the ability to get much better. Our football staff is excited about his speed, and as we work together we hope to bring many more high-level football/track athletes to our campus who can help both programs become consistent winners.”


The Big Ten flexed its early football muscle by landing five teams in the preseason USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

Wisconsin was the highest rated Big Ten team, coming in at No. 10. Nebraska was No. 11 followed by No. 16 Ohio State, No. 17 Michigan State and No. 25 Penn State. Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern also received votes.

As expected, no coach voted for Indiana.

The Associated Press poll comes out later this month. For the record, we vote on that poll, and made a not-so-good impression last year by ranking Boise State No. 1 for much of the season. This was treated by Ohio State and Alabama fans with the same enthusiasm as making broccoli mandatory for breakfast.


The Big Ten is going back to nine-game conference seasons, after a quarter century of eight-game schedules. The move, which will begin with the 2017 season, comes as a result of adding Nebraska, which gives the conference 12 teams.

That means Big Ten schools, starting in 2017, will only have three non-conference games.

Three teams from the new Legends and Leaders divisions will have five conference home games during odd-numbered years, whill the other three schools from each division will host five conference games during even-numbered years.

That means in 2017 Indiana will have five conference home games. It will have four in 2018.

The Big Ten last had a full nine-game conference schedule for the 1983 and ’84 seasons.

This is good news for the Hoosiers because it means another quality opponent will play in Memorial Stadium, which likely means a bigger crowd and more money. Athletic director Fred Glass already has boosted the non-conference schedule with games against Virginia, Navy, Missouri, South Florida and Wake Forest.

Glass hopes to target seven home games a season as often as he can, with the possibility of as many as eight if he can line up three home non-conference games the same season the Hoosiers have five home Big Ten contests.

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