Thursday, July 26, 2012
Big Ten mulls selection committee
By Adam Rittenberg ESPN.com
CHICAGO -- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald would like to see the Big Ten use a selection committee to choose one of the participants for the league championship game.
The Big Ten has only 10 of 12 teams eligible for its league championship game, and just four of those teams are in the Leaders Division. Ohio State and Penn State both are banned from postseason play -- and the Big Ten championship game -- because of NCAA sanctions.
Fitzgerald, whose Wildcats play in the Legends Division, would like to see the Legends Division champ and another team, selected by a committee, meet Dec. 1 in Indianapolis.
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Penn State, as it has throughout the sports world in recent weeks, dominated Day 1 of the Big Ten's media days Thursday. Notes
"At the end of the day, you see what happened last year in the Pac-12," Fitzgerald said, referring to a 6-6 UCLA team that won the North Division and met Oregon in the title game. "I don't know if fans get excited about a .500 team playing in the championship game. There's obviously a chance of that."
Because of the NCAA penalties, only Wisconsin, Purdue, Illinois and Indiana are eligible from the Leaders Division. Fitzgerald has passed along his idea to athletic director Jim Phillips.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, meanwhile, said Fitzgerald's proposal was discussed, but it won't gain serious consideration.
That, however, doesn't mean other Legends coaches aren't intrigued by the plan.
"There's some imbalance there, maybe, that we can look at doing something," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "It's different."
Fitzgerald only would want to see the committee used this season, when multiple teams from one division are ineligible. Although Penn State received a four-year postseason ban from the NCAA, Ohio State will be eligible in 2013.
"It's not a bad idea," Minnesota coach Jerry Kill said. "Pat's been in the league a lot longer time than I have. It's certainly a good thought. It's a unique situation and so forth, and I'm sure our administrators and our commissioner have talked about those things."