Michigan, Ohio State could end up in same Big Ten division
Could they be reunited?
The Big Ten originally structured its divisions based on competitive balance, but as the league considers how to handle the addition of Rutgers and Maryland in 2014, many athletic directors seem to favor splitting the league based on geography.
That, of course, could group Michigan and Ohio State in the same division. And neither school seems to mind.
"We will likely be a little bit more attentive to geographic alignment," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told ESPN.com. "If Michigan and Ohio State being in the same division turns out to be what's in the best interest of the conference, that would be great. Obviously, it isn't the way it is now, and certainly that's worked.
"Certainly if we go to a geographic split situation and it's in the best interest of what we're trying to accomplish for Michigan and Ohio State to be in the same division, that would be just fine."
Added Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, according to ESPN.com: "I kind of lean toward having us in the same division. But I'm open to keeping it as it is, based on what my colleagues might share."
A geographical split appears to be gaining steam outside of Michigan and Ohio State as well.
"Maybe it was competitive balance last time," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said in the ESPN.com story. "Maybe geography wins the day this time. … It wasn't the most important (factor in 2010), but we should look at it this time because we are spread farther than we ever have been."
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany already has said the divisional names also could be revamped.
The league's athletic directors will mull its options in the next few months, and is expected to present its recommendation to the presidents in June.
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