Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor
The Big Ten Conference office announced new football division alignments on Sunday that are set to begin in 2014 and a nine-game conference schedule for 2016. According to the conference’s website, the changes to the division names were unanimously recommended by the directors of athletics at each school and supported by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors.
“Big Ten directors of athletics concluded four months of study and deliberation with unanimous approval of a future football structure that preserved rivalries and created divisions based on their primary principle of East/West geography,” Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany released in a statement. “The directors of athletics also relied on the results of a fan survey commissioned by BTN last December to arrive at their recommendation, which is consistent with the public sentiment expressed in the poll.”
Ohio State will be joined by Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Rutgers in the East division, while the West will house Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Each school is scheduled to play the other six in its division in addition to two teams from the other division in transitional years 2014 and 2015. In 2016, the addition of a third game against a team from the other division will be part of the nine-game schedule that has one protected annual matchup between Purdue and Indiana.
“Big Ten directors of athletics met in person or by conference call six times from December to March to discuss a new Big Ten football model,” Delany said. “The level of cooperation and collaboration was reflective of what we’ve come to expect from this group of administrators who have worked extremely well together on a number of complex matters over the past several years. We are all looking forward to ushering in this new era of Big Ten football.”
OSU is scheduled to take on Buffalo in the season opener on Aug. 31 in Columbus.