The Wolverine

June-July 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 155 of 157

B ig Ten commissioner Jim Delany announced in early May that the conference bas‑ ketball tournament will be played in Washington, D.C., in 2017. The news will not go over well with most Big Ten fans. The addition of Rut‑ gers and Maryland for the 2014‑15 season was met with widespread criticism as Delany was accused of making decisions based not on competitive balance, tradition or geography, but on market reach and the financial impli‑ cations. The footprint of the Big Ten has always been the Midwest, and even the addition of Nebraska made some sense. The basketball tournament and football champion‑ ship game played in Indianapolis are well centralized, but heading to the East Coast will distance most of the league's schools from the tournament site. The 14 schools are an average of 343 miles from the Indiana capital. Rut‑ gers (685 miles) is the farthest away, but both Nebraska (636 miles) and Minnesota (592 miles) are farther than Maryland's College Park location (573 miles). Putting the basketball tournament in Washington, D.C., and potentially the football game somewhere on the East Coast in the future, will put the majority of the Big Ten outside of driving distance. In fact, only Maryland (nine miles from D.C.), Rutgers (200 miles) and Penn State (213 miles) would be within a five‑ hour drive. The average distance per Big Ten school from the nation's capital is 617 miles, with the Cornhuskers (1,201 miles), Golden Gophers (1,109 miles), Hawk‑ eyes (904 miles) and Badgers (848 miles) facing an almost unavoidable flight to the tournament destination. Positioning the site of the league's most important weekend so far out‑ side the Big Ten boundary is sure to alienate longtime fans, but adding Rutgers and Maryland was never about appeasing the fans. The rationale was to expand the Big Ten Network into the coveted New York (No. 1) and D.C. (No. 9) markets, increasing the league's television rev‑ MAIZE N' VIEW   MICHAEL SPATH More Big Ten Branding Head coach John Beilein and the Wolverines will have to travel to Washington, D.C., for the 2017 Big Ten Tournament, a clear sign of the changing geography of the conference. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - June-July 2014