June 10, 2012
[ONE // and the medal of honor goes to….]
The Big Ten announced the 2012 Medal of Honor winners this past Thursday, including 24 honorees from 13 different sports. One of the most prestigious conference awards in college athletics, 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 nearly 10,000 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 98 years of the Medal of Honor, just over 1,300 student-athletes have earned this distinction. For a complete look at the honorees for the 2011-12 season, click here.
[TWO // track and field season ends with national titles]
A total of six Big Ten representatives claimed national championships this past week at the 2012 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. Congratulations to Illinois’ Andrew Riley, who claimed first in both the 100-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles, as well as the Illini’s Ashley Spencer – a national champion in the 400-meter dash. Indiana’s Andrew Bayer earned the 1,500-meter run title, while Nebraska’s Chad Wright won the discus championship and Ohio State’s Christina Manning took home the 100-meter hurdles crown. For more on the Big Ten’s success at the national meet, click here.
[THREE // track standouts earn regional honors]
Five Big Ten outdoor track and field teams have been awarded Regional Athlete of the Year and Coach of the Year honors, the USTFCCCA announced last Monday. Illinois' Andrew Riley (Midwest Region) and Wisconsin's Mohammed Ahmed (Great Lakes Region) were tabbed Men's Track Athlete of the Year, while Indiana's Derek Drouin (Great Lakes Region) and Penn State's Jordan Kovacs (Mid-Atlantic Region) were named Men's Field Athlete of the Year. The Badgers' Ed Nuttycombe was honored as Men's Coach of the Year, while the Hoosiers' Jeff Huntoon and the Nittany Lions' Chris Johnson were tabbed Men's Assistant of the Year. On the women's side, Christina Manning (Great Lakes) was named Women's Track Athlete of the Year, and Wisconsin's Jessica Flax was tabbed Women's Field Athlete of the Year. The Buckeyes' Karen Dennis took home Women's Coach of the Year honors, and the Badgers' Nate Davis earned Women's Assistant Coach of the Year laurels. For the complete release, click here.
[FOUR // diamond stars]
Thirty Big Ten players were selected in this past week’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, marking the conference's highest number of draftees since 2009. Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year and the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, was the first conference selection, going 35th overall to the New York Mets in the Compensation A Round. Ten conference teams had at least one player drafted, led by Purdue’s seven selections, which marks the Big Ten’s highest single-team total since Indiana in 2009. Nebraska had five players drafted, while Illinois and Michigan State each had four taken, Penn State had three, Indiana and Iowa had two, and Minnesota, Northwestern and Ohio State each had one draftee. The entire list of drafted Big Ten players can be found by clicking here.
[FIVE // a nod to the newcomers]
Six Big Ten baseball players were named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America Team, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced this past Wednesday. Those honored for a successful first season on the diamond include Illinois utility player Reid Roper, Indiana catcher Kyle Scwarber and first baseman Sam Travis, Iowa left-handed pitcher Sasha Kuebel, and Nebraska second baseman Pat Kelly and left-handed pitcher Kyle Kubat.
[SIX // tennis earns all-america accolades]
Five Big Ten tennis student-athletes earned All-America honors this past week from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. On the men’s side, Illinois’ Dennis Nevolo and Michigan’s Evan King earned All-America accolades in singles competitions, while Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola were honored for their efforts in both singles and doubles. On the women’s side, Michigan’s Emina Bektas took home All-America honors in singles.
[SEVEN // success in the classroom]
Eight Big Ten student-athletes have been named to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-America Team, as announced this past Thursday. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a varsity starter or key reserve, maintain a cumulative G.P.A. of 3.30, have sophomore eligibility and be nominated by his or her sports information director. Congratulations to Michigan field hockey standout Eileen Brandes, Nebraska wrestlers Josh Ihnen and Tucker Lane, Ohio State rower Ulrike Denker, hockey star Sean Duddy, and Andrew Elliott of the Buckeyes’ swimming and diving squad, as well as Penn State field hockey player Kelsey Amy and gymnast Miguel Pineda on their accolades.
[EIGHT // attracting the fans]
For the 19th time in the last 20 seasons, Big Ten women's basketball finished in the top two nationally in average attendance, it was announced this past week by the NCAA. Averaging 4,128 fans per contest, the Big Ten finished second among all conferences, drawing more than 760,000 fans to its stadiums this season. Six Big Ten schools finished among the top 20 in average attendance, the most of any conference in the country. Purdue (7,958) and Michigan State (7,505) ranked seventh and eighth, respectively, while Penn State (4,956), Wisconsin (4,846), Iowa (4,846) and Nebraska (4,597), rounded out the top 20 at Nos. 17-20. To view the complete NCAA attendance report, click here.
[NINE // ready for kickoff]
Big Ten institutions released game times and television plans this past Thursday for home football games to be played at Noon and 3:30 p.m. ET during the first three weeks of the 2012 season. Game times and television plans for the remainder of the 2012 schedule will be announced six to 12 days in advance. The full schedule of Big Ten home games during the first three weeks of the season, including primetime games announced in April, can be found by clicking here.
[TEN // listen up]
This past Monday, members of the Big Ten Conference held a teleconference with officials and media to discuss several items for the upcoming football season, including the ongoing discussion of a playoff. Among those participating for the Big Ten were Commissioner Jim Delany, Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips, and BTN President Mark Silverman. BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart wrote about this earlier and the AP published this breakdown of Monday’s news, but now you can listen to audio of the entire Monday teleconference by clicking here.
[ELEVEN // facebook for all]
Speaking of the BTN, the conference’s nationally-televised network has been working hard to provide Big Ten Country with all the current news surrounding all 12 conference schools. Now that process has become much easier for the Big Ten fan. In addition to the conference office’s social media accounts, www.facebook.com/BTN is a good place to go for general updates and features on that social network while www.facebook.com/BTNVideo is an excellent way to get every BTN.com video to show up in your timeline. But now the BTN is rolling out school-specific Facebook page so that you can get the news you want. Initially powered by news, TV programming alerts, and BTN video feeds, they also include news feeds from the official school websites. To check out your favorite school’s BTN Facebook page, click here.
[TWELVE // it’s a wrap…up]
Finally this week, BigTen.org has begun to bring the 2011-12 season to a close by providing season in review posts for several spring sports. Among the annual wrap-ups posted this past week were men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s tennis, and women’s tennis. Click on the respective links for those recaps.