The Big Ten is already welcoming two new members – Maryland and Rutgers – to the conference this year. Could another school be joining the conference too? Two Illinois lawmakers hope so.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Senators Michael Connelly and Matt Murphy have introduced legislation “to study what it would take for Illinois to get one of its current public universities – like Illinois State University or Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville -- to become a Big Ten school.”
The two think tough admissions standards at the University of Illinois are causing many students to continue their educations out of state. Illinois and the private Northwestern are the only two Big Ten schools in the state, and Connelly thinks being a “Big Ten school” carries a lot of weight.
“’Big Ten,’ to me, means a top state school,” Connelly said. “There’s a lot of pride in that. The Big Ten has a cachet and a record of higher academic and athletic excellence. Indiana, Iowa, … they come swooping in, and they’re taking some of our really talented kids out of the state – and sometimes for good, so there’s a talent drain that is there, as well.”