This Week in the Big Ten

The Big Ten announced this past week the addition of men's and women's lacrosse for the 2014-15 season.

June 10, 2013

[ONE // the historic honor]
The Big Ten announced on Wednesday the 2013 Medal of Honor winners, honoring 24 standouts from 18 different sports. The conference’s most prestigious award, the Big Ten Medal of Honor was first awarded in 1915 to one student-athlete from the graduating class of each university who had “attained the greatest proficiency in athletics and scholastic work.”  The 12 institutions of the Big Ten feature more than 8,200 student-athletes, more than any other conference, and only 24 of those individuals are recognized each year with the Big Ten Medal of Honor. In the 99 years of the Medal of Honor, over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction.  This year’s list of distinguished student-athletes includes a two-time Olympian, U.S. and Canadian National Team members, NCAA Champions, Academic All-Americans, an NCAA Elite 89 honoree and numerous All-Americans.

[TWO // lacrosse is coming]
The Big Ten announced this past Monday that men's and women's lacrosse will become the conference's 27th and 28th official sports and that Johns Hopkins University has been accepted as a sport affiliate member for men's lacrosse only beginning with the 2014-15 academic year.  Big Ten competition in both sports will feature Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers, with Johns Hopkins participating in men's lacrosse and Northwestern competing in women's lacrosse. Big Ten rules allow for a conference championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport.  The six programs that will comprise Big Ten men's lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century. Johns Hopkins has been an independent since 1883 and leads all schools with 44 national championships. Maryland has claimed 11 national titles, while Rutgers has also won a national championship.  Big Ten women's lacrosse will feature teams that have won 23 national championships and 19 of the 32 NCAA championships, including eight of the last nine. Maryland has won 11 national championships, with 10 NCAA crowns, including seven straight from 1995 to 2001 and most recently in 2010. Northwestern has claimed seven NCAA titles, highlighted by five consecutive from 2005 to 2009 and most recently in 2012. Penn State has earned five national championships, including NCAA titles in 1987 and 1989. 

[THREE // hoosier baseball heading to omaha]
Indiana earned a spot in the College World Series after completing a two-game sweep of Florida State, defeating the Seminoles, 11-6, on Sunday. The Hoosiers will make their first appearance in the season-ending event, becoming the first Big Ten team since Michigan in 1984 to advance to the College World Series.  Eight Hoosiers had at least one hit in the game, including multi-hit efforts from Michael Basil, Justin Cureton and Scott Donley, while Sam Travis led Indiana with four RBI.  The 2013 College World Series begins June 15-16 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.

[FOUR // making the majors]
Minnesota starting pitcher Tom Windle was taken 56th overall by the Los Angeles Dodgers in Round 2 of the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Thursday night.  Nine conference players were then taken in Rounds 3-10, eight went from Rounds 11-25, while three were drafted Saturday in Rounds 26-40.

[FIVE // a b1g pinstripe partnership]
This past Monday, the New York Yankees and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl announced a partnership with the Big Ten Conference.  The eight-year affiliation between the two legendary brands features the Big Ten's commitment to play in the annual New Era Pinstripe Bowl from 2014 to 2021. The Big Ten's partnership with the New Era Pinstripe Bowl will mark the conference's first bowl game tie-in on the East Coast. Additionally, for all New York Yankees regular season games, beginning in 2014, the Big Ten will have a significant branding presence in Yankee Stadium, featuring a fixed sign along the first-base line and home plate rotating signage.

[SIX // almost time to tune in]
Game times and television arrangements have been determined for home and neutral site football games to appear on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU during the first three weeks of the 2013 Big Ten season.  BTN start times for the first three weeks of the season could be announced this upcoming week, while game times and television plans for the remainder of the season will be announced six to 12 days in advance.  On August 31, Ohio State hosts Buffalo at Noon ET on ESPN2, while Penn State will square off against Syracuse in a neutral site game at MetLife Stadium on ABC (ESPN2 outer market) at 3:30 p.m. The schedule for September 7 features Michigan State hosting South Florida and Illinois taking on Cincinnati, with both games set for Noon on ESPN2 or ESPNU, and Ohio State welcoming San Diego State on ABC (ESPN2 outer market) at 3:30 p.m. On September 14, Nebraska will host UCLA on ABC and Indiana faces Bowling Green on ESPNU at Noon.

[SEVEN // two individual titles highlight ncaa track championship weekend]
The Big Ten concluded its track and field season this past weekend as 130 student-athletes from all 11 conference men's and women's outdoor track and field teams participated at the NCAA Championships.  The Big Ten was paced by the Illinois women and Penn State men, which each finished 14th overall.  Leading the way in the individual race was Illinois’ Ashley Spencer and Indiana’s Derek Drouin, who captured NCAA titles in the 400 meters and high jump, respectively.  For a complete recap of the Big Ten success at the NCAA Championships, click here.

[EIGHT // tracking regional honors]
Four Big Ten outdoor track and field teams have been awarded Regional Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year honors, the USTFCCCA announced on Monday.   Iowa's Justin Austin (Midwest Region) and Penn State's Casimir Loxsom (Mid-Atlantic) were tabbed Men's Track Athlete of the Year, while Indiana's Derek Drouin (Great Lakes Region) was named Men's Field Athlete of the Year. Nebraska's Gary Pepin (Midwest) was honored as Men's Coach of the Year, while the Hawkeyes' Joey Woody and the Nittany Lions' John Gondak were tabbed Men's Assistant of the Year.  On the women's side, Illinois' Ashley Spencer (Midwest) and Penn State's Mahagony Jones were named Women's Track Athlete of the Year, while the Nittany Lions' Beth Alford-Sullivan took home Women's Coach of the Year honors.

[NNE // another group of academic all-americans]
Thirteen Big Ten student-athletes have been named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Team, as announced last Thursday. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.30, have sophomore eligibility and be nominated by his or her sports information director. The complete list of Big Ten honorees, which includes six first-team recipients, can be found by clicking here.

[TEN // huskers elite with sweep of ncaa honor]
Nebraska's Anne Martin and John Welk were honored at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday with the NCAA Elite 89 Award.  Martin and Welk earned the honor for being the male and female student-athletes with the highest GPA at the championships.  The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers.

[ELEVEN // nebraska, national team steal softball story headlines]
Nebraska's Taylor Edwards was named one of 13 players named to the 2013 Women's College World Series All-Tournament Team on Tuesday night. She is the 11th Husker to earn the honor in program history. Edwards was 4-for-9 at the Women's College World Series with three runs scored, two RBIs and one home run. She hit a clutch game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning against No. 2 Florida in a memorable game Nebraska went on to lose by one in 15 innings.  On Friday, three other conference standouts earned national recognition.  Iowa's Megan Blank, Michigan alum Amanda Chidester and Penn State alum Cassidy Bell were selected to participate in the 2013 USA Softball Women's National Team Selection Camp from June 10-12. The three will compete for a spot on the 17-member USA National Team, which will be announced on June 14. The team will take part in three separate events during the course of the summer, including the 2013 World Cup of Softball, held July 11-14 in Oklahoma City.

[TWELVE // the top in tennis]
Finally this week, nine Big Ten tennis standouts have earned All-America status.  On the women’s side, six players earned 2013 ITA All-America recognition, it was announced on Thursday. Nebraska's Mary Weatherholt earned both singles and doubles honors, while teammate Patricia Veresova, Illinois' Melissa Kopinski and Rachael White and Michigan's Emina Bektas and Brooke Bolender collected doubles laurels.   Also on Thursday, three Big Ten men's players collected 2013 ITA All-America honors. Michigan's Evan King and Ohio State's Blaz Rola were named to the singles team, while Buckeye Peter Kobelt earned singles and doubles recognition.