Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, May 14, 2014

The Big Ten athletic directors are meeting in Chicago. Envision pitchers of water sitting on tables covered in linen clothes with the smell of Drakkar Noir in the air. Not much big news has emerged from the confab. The topic of the Big Ten?s move East was a hot one.

With the hoops tourney going to Washington, D.C., in 2017, why not look at taking it to, say ? Omaha?

?Love it. Terrific,? Nebraska athletic director Shawn Eichorst told ?We already host some pretty good stuff in Omaha. I wouldn?t see why we wouldn?t (make a bid). If the opportunity presented itself, I would imagine we?d try to put our best foot forward and put something out there.?

OK by me. I like Omaha. Really, I do. In fact, it sounds like the hoops tourney could be moving around more often after being based in Chicago and Indianapolis since its inception in 1998.

In other news, the A.D.s are discussing the format of the tourney now that the league has 14 teams. It probably will look a lot like the SEC format, I?m guessing. Sounds like it still will end on Sunday and start a day earlier, on Wednesday.


The coming nine-game Big Ten league football schedule came up. In fact, it?s slated to start in 2016. And, the athletic directors say they are sticking with it, even though the SEC and ACC will remain at eight conference tilts.


Alcohol sales also came up at the meetings. Minnesota is the lone Big Ten school to sell beer at football games. And, it could stay that way ? for now.

I didn?t know this: Iowa has allowed beer and wine sales in luxury and premium seating areas since 2006. Wisconsin, Illinois and Purdue also sell alcohol in premium seating areas. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, in 2010, Iowa sold $111,000 in alcohol at Kinnick Stadium, which put the Iowa second among the four Big Ten schools that sold booze in stadium suites for that year.


And, what would an AD meeting be without talk of a union? Northwestern?s Jim Phillips addressed the topic. And, predictably, he doesn?t think a union is the right mechanism for change.


Any coach needs the backing of his athletic director. And Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst has the back of Bo Pelini.

Eichorst?s support of Pelini during the tumultuous end to the 2013 regular season no doubt played a part in the good effort in the bowl game. Now, the Huskers are poised for a strong 2014. Standing by his man may prove to be key for Eichorst.


Ohio State keeps churning out NFL players. In fact, a Big Ten-high six were picked in the recent NFL draft. But when it comes to becoming a star in the NFL, the Buckeyes have come up short. Nick Mangold and Donte Whitner have become Pro Bowl players, but others haven?t emerged as studs.


It stung when Michigan State lost its regular series game with Notre Dame. But it has replaced some of those with a nice two-game series with Arizona State in 2018-19.

So, MSU will play Oregon this fall and in 2015; Miami (Fla.) in 2020 and 2021; Boise State in 2022 and 2023. ND is back on the sked in 2016 and 2017. Not bad, Mark Hollis.


Pretty cool here: Dick Vitale is honoring Lacey Holsworth?s memory by raising $250,000 in Lacey?s name for a pediatric cancer research grant through The V Foundation. And Dickie V said he would do it by the night of his fundraising gala this Friday in Sarasota, Florida. And, he says he?s close to his goal. Pretty awesome.


Here's a nice piece on James Franklin's approach to recruiting – he's well aware of how vital it is to recruit in the South.

"The most important thing is finding the right guys,? Franklin told ?Then, where are you gonna get the most bang for your buck? If you drive for an hour in any direction, how many Division I players are you gonna see? So, going to places like Florida and Georgia and Texas and California, you're gonna get a lot of bang for your buck."


My take: Not me.

My take: What a weird schedule.

My take: So, there is that.

My take: Oh, brother.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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