This Week in the Big Ten

Feb. 6, 2011

[ONE // continuing the celebration of black history month]
In a continued effort to commemorate the achievements of African-Americans on Big Ten campuses, the conference office announced on Tuesday the 22 student-athletes to be recognized on the Big Ten's Black History Month website. Throughout February, the website will feature stories on current and former student-athletes from each institution that can be accessed here.  Features this past week included Michigan track and field star Joyce (Wilson) Eder, Minnesota football great Darrell Thompson, Ohio State soccer standout Cassie Dickerson, and Iowa track athlete Anthuan Maybank.

[TWO // celebrating girls and women in sports]
Led by its member institutions, the Big Ten was proud to be an active participant in the 25th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), which was celebrated around the country on Wednesday.  Thousands of sports educators, coaches, athletic directors, recreation directors, association members, sponsors, students and parents across the country showed their support of the day and of this year's theme, "Play, Believe, Achieve.” Several Big Ten institutions have taken or will take part in various festivities surrounding NGWSD at home women’s basketball contests.  For a glimpse of those activities, click here.  For more information regarding NGWSD, visit

[THREE // a strong showing in the super bowl]
The Big Ten was well-represented on Sunday in Super Bowl XLV with 18 former student-athletes and nine coaches with previous conference connections on the rosters of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Big Ten was the only conference to feature at least one former player from every institution in the Super Bowl.  Helping the Packers to a 31-25 victory over the Steelers were eight former Big Ten players from six different schools on their roster, including six standouts on the active roster. Hawkeye offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga, Wolverine cornerback Charles Woodson, Buckeye linebackers A.J. Hawk and Matt Wilhelm and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and Nittany Lion tight end Andrew Quarless highlight Green Bay’s roster, while Purdue defensive end Mike Neal and Wisconsin offensive tackle Mark Tauscher were on the team’s injured reserve list.  Hawk played a major role in anchoring the Packers defense with five tackles, especially after Woodson left the game early with a collarbone injury.  Woodson had three tackles, while Pickett and Wilhelm recorded two tackles and one stop, respectively.  On the offensive side of the ball, Quarless hauled in one pass for five yards.  The Big Ten also extends its congrats to former Northwestern athletics director Mark Murphy, who is now enjoying his first Super Bowl win as President and CEO of the Packers.  In the loss, Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall of Illinois posted 63 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Antwaan Randle El of Indiana caught two passes for 50 yards and scored on a two-point conversion on the Steelers’ final score late in the fourth quarter.  Former Minnesota tight end Matt Spaeth had one catch for nine yards while on the defensive side of the ball, LaMarr Woodley of Michigan had three tackles, a sack and two QB hits.  Punter Jeremy Kapinos of Penn State registered three punts for 153 yards for an average of 51.0 yards per kick.

[FOUR // brady and other former big ten gridiron stars honored by nfl]
Speaking of accomplishments at football’s highest level, former Big Ten gridiron greats were honored this past week by the Associated Press ad NFL.  Michigan quarterback Tom Brady, a sixth-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft who has blossomed into a two-time Super Bowl MVP and three-time Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, made history with a few honors this past week.  Brady was the only unanimous selection for the Associated Press 2010 NFL All-Pro Team, was the first unanimous decision for the Associated Press NFL MVP award, and was tabbed the league’s Offensive Player of the Year as well.  Also named to the All-Pro Team were offensive tackles Joe Thomas (Wisconsin) of the Cleveland Browns and Jake Long (Michigan) of the Miami Dolphins as well as N.Y. Jets center Nick Mangold (Ohio State).

[FIVE // a michigan man…and big ten icon]
Michigan's Tom Harmon was named this past week as Big Ten Icon No. 5 by the Big Ten Network. Big Ten Icons continued on Sunday night with a profile of the 1940 Heisman Trophy winner and charter member of Michigan's Hall of Honor. A native of Gary, Ind., Harmon enrolled at Michigan in 1937 after earning 14 letters in football, basketball and track at Horace Mann High School. He is still revered as one of the most complete athletes to play Michigan football, excelling as a rusher, passer and kicker while also contributing on defense. As a junior, Harmon seized national attention after leading the nation with 102 points to earn first-team All-America honors.

[SIX // sign right here]
This past Wednesday marked National Signing Day for several future Big Ten football players.  The conference’s website provided full coverage of National Signing Day, including news on future Big Ten member Nebraska, with links to each school website highlighting their signees, while the Big Ten Network aired its "Football Signing Day Special.”  That Special included video highlights of top recruits, university press conferences, one-on-one interviews with Big Ten head coaches and expert recruiting analysis from  Host Mike Hall, analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and national recruiting expert Allen Trieu reviewed each school’s recruiting class and evaluated how each team filled its most pressing roster needs.

[SEVEN // success on the hardwood and in the classroom]
Five Big Ten basketball players were named this past Thursday as first-team Academic All-District selections by the College Sports Information Directors of America.  Two women's basketball student-athletes – Purdue’s Brittany Rayburn and Wisconsin's Alyssa Karel – were named in District 5 while Michigan's Zack Novak (District 4), Minnesota's Blake Hoffarber (District 5) and Northwestern's Drew Crawford (District 5) were all named on the men’s side.  All first-team honorees in their respective districts advance to the national Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot.

[EIGHT // more women hoops stars for wade to watch]
Congratulations to Michigan State's Kalisha Keane and Northwestern's Amy Jaeschke, who were added to the Wade Trophy Watch List on Wednesday, giving the Big Ten five student-athletes on the watch list. The two join Iowa's Kachine Alexander and Ohio State's Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis.  The Wade Trophy is given annually to the nation's most outstanding player who excels athletically and serves as a role model off the court. The list will be trimmed to 12 in March with the winner being announced during the WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four.

[NINE // five softball standouts honored on player of the year watch list]
Five Big Ten softball standouts were named to the USA Softball top 50 watch list for 2011 Collegiate Player of the Year it was announced on Wednesday. Illinois first baseman Meredith Hackett, Indiana pitcher Morgan Melloh, Michigan infielder Dorian Shaw, Michigan pitcher Jordan Taylor and Ohio State shortstop Alicia Herron were each named to the list.  The list of 50 will be trimmed to 25 on April 13, and the top 10 will be announced on May 11. The winner will be announced prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women's College World Series.

[TEN // tee it up]
Big Ten men's golf began its spring schedule this past Saturday with Indiana and Iowa in action for the first time in 2011. The Hoosiers opened the spring season with a 9.5 to 2.5 victory against Ball State at the Big Red Shootout at Grey Oaks Country Club. IU took the early 5-1 lead after the morning session of the match play competition and never looked back.  Iowa headed west to Scottsdale, Ariz., and placed second in the Big Four Match Play Championship.  The Hawkeyes picked up a 5-1 win over Drake in the first round and fell to Iowa State, 2-4, in the championship round. Competition was held on the par 71 Lone Tree Golf Course.

[ELEVEN // penn state, obama energized for energy]
Finally this week, Penn State and the Big Ten Network teamed up last Thursday to air President Barack Obama's speech, which was held in front of 3,000 people at the Nittany Lions’ Rec Hall.  During his visit to Penn State, the president addressed the people who will play a direct role in America's ability to move toward clean, efficient energy, which included several faculty and students in the colleges and areas that are heavily involved in energy and the environment.  Obama's talk followed on the heels of his Jan. 25 State of the Union Address in which he urged Americans to invest more in innovation and education to move the country forward in job creation and global competition.