Big Ten Will Not Have Divisions For Basketball, Will Use BCS Rankings As Tiebreaker For Football

Briefly discussing basketball in the conference, Commissioner Delany said that as of now, the conference is not planning to have divisions for basketball and that the teams will continue with the current 18 in-conference game schedule. The conference could decide to implement divisions for basketball at a later date, but only if the coaches at the schools insist on it. Delany said he does not currently see a compelling reason for establishing basketball divisions, given the presence of the NCAA and Big Ten tournaments.

The Commissioner also discussed the football tie-breaker system that will be in place for determining the divisional champions (and entrants to the championship game) if necessary. A two team tie within a division will be decided by head-to-head record, with a three team tie broken by looking at the record of play against other teams within the division for each team that is tied. In the event of a scenario where three or more teams are still tied after looking at their intra-divisional records, the conference will use the BCS rankings in a yet-to-be-determined fashion to establish a divisional champion.

Towards the end of the media conference, the Commissioner addressed the presence of the Ohio State-Michigan football game at the end of the season and the possibility of a repeat in the championship game. He said the conference was not concerned about a possible fall-off in TV viewer ship, and cited the 1995 rose bowl trip by Northwestern which garnered a 20 rating nationally and a 43 rating in Chicago (each ratings “point” corresponds to 1% of the estimated Nielsen universe, or all the possible tv viewers in a given region / nationally.) Delany said that he feels even if there were to be a repeat between Michigan-Ohio State in the championship game, they would still garner a significant viewer share.

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