Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) has introduced legislation that would require the Illinois Board of Higher Education to set up a commission to look into having one of Illinois’ 11 other public universities join the Big Ten.
Murphy has said enrollment at the University of Illinois has become so competitive, many students with top grades and test scores don’t make it in, and end up going to Big Ten schools in other states. He thinks more would go to schools in Illinois if another public university were in the Big Ten.
Well, lets start with the obvious question, what the heck does top academics have to do with the Big 10 in any way shape or form? Seriously, when does athletic conference make a difference in the academic quality.
Well OneMan, Big 10 schools have high average ACT scores, well some of them do, several of them however have averages that are not much above NIU's for example (Nebraska) also Iowa accepts 84% all applicants (vs 44% at U of I). From what I understand for years Ohio State had open enrollment.
But even take all of that out of the picture....
Lets look at this from a practical athletic viewpoint...
Look at the last two schools the Big 10 has added, Rutgers and Maryland. Does anyone really think they got to join the club because of their quality academics or because of because of their access to large media markets?
Only three schools in the state play Div I-BCS football and two of them are already in the Big 10 and the third NIU would have to spend millions just to upgrade the football stadium. For any of the other schools to join the conference they would also have to spend millions to upgrade their football stadiums as well as upgrade their programs to Div I-BCS programs and that would cost millions of dollars.
If you want to upgrade the academics of a state school, I am all for that. Odds are by the time the process would bear fruit it would be long after either of my kids would be done with college. But using an athletic conference as some sort of smoke screen.
If you want more in state smart kids to go to state schools, upgrade the state schools, get tuition under control. That is going to help, if a kid is going to a school just because it is in a specific athletic conference, the kid isn't that smart to begin with.