We all know by now that college football’s Big Ten conference has twelve schools. Sure, it’s weird and kinda funny, but we can accept it and move on. But this week they unveiled a new logo (I refuse to post it here on my blog) that in honor of the 12 schools appears to have been designed by a 12 year old (it was actually designed by Pentagram, an international design consultancy, who received thousands of dollars from the conference for their effort). Reactions have been universally negative. The Big Ten has also reorganized itself into two divisions: but instead of the tried and true, unambiguous “East” and “West” divisions, they named them unmemorably “Leaders” and “Legends.” Which schools are in which divisions? Who knows! Not only do the names start with the same letter, they start with the same two letters. Why not East and West? Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany points out that it wouldn’t be geographically accurate–an odd argument, considering this is a “Big Ten” with twelve teams. It is completely baffling that actual humans, who are presumably all college educated, could trick themselves into believing that this was a good idea. This reflects extremely poorly on the quality of education that the Big Ten’s schools provide.
Perhaps they subscribe to the “all publicity is good publicity” school of thought. Delany defends the mistake, explaining somewhat poetically, while sounding somewhat like a redneck, “I take a little bit with the grain of salt any reaction that comes up in the first 10-20 seconds. The reality is any mark [logo] or any divisional name is a vessel, and it will be filled over time with experiences and memories.”
Time, however, will not look on this mistake kindly. I have no personal connection to the Big Ten beyond the fact that they play football, and I like football, yet I feel embarrassed and ashamed for the conference. It’s insulting that they thought fans are lowbrow enough to accept it.
Just as I am willing to give George Lucas a mulligan for the Phantom Menace, I am willing to give the Big Ten a chance to re-do their divisions and logo. If they agree to start over, I agree to never mention this again. It will only make the world a better place.