- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Big Ten could decide by June whether to replace the Legends and Leaders names for its divisions in 2014, colleague Brett McMurphy reports.
McMurphy spoke to league commissioner Jim Delany, who said changing the division names is an option when Maryland and Rutgers join the conference for the 2014 season. The Big Ten will also have to decide on the makeup of its divisions and scheduling, but there might not be a more divisive issue than those division names.
“Obviously, we got some acceptance [with Legends and Leaders], but not as much as we would have liked,” Delany said. "... I think on the other hand, we said we would test market it, and we have for a couple of years. We have the opportunity to look at it again. I’m sure we will. Whether or not we change or not is to be determined. I don’t have any presumption that we’ll change on it, but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking at it.
“I don’t think when you try to build something, lead some organization, you don’t want to be tone deaf. But it’s not up for vote every week.”
Delany also said that if the league does not decide to organize its divisions by geography, then it will not use geographic names like East and West for its divisions.
The league conducted a survey in the fall of 2011 and found that of the fans it polled, 57 percent either liked the Legends and Leaders names "somewhat" or "very much." About 35 percent disliked the names somewhat or very much, while only 8 percent were neutral. Anecdotally, we hear from many fans who don't like the names, and of course the league has set itself for some easy wisecracks with such ambitious names.
The Big Ten has a lot of decisions to make this year before moving to 14 teams. Division names are not that important in the grand scheme of things, but it's one that will generate plenty of discussion and debate.