Big Ten

Report: That time five Big 12 schools tried to join the Big Ten

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Report: That time five Big 12 schools tried to join the Big Ten

Conference realignment. The never-ending college football talking point.

In 2010, Nebraska joined the Big Ten, bolting the Big 12, which seemed a sinking ship at the time as rumors flew around that Texas was going to leave for the Pac-10.

But perhaps far more than just the Cornhuskers could have made the move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten, as reported Sunday by the Omaha World-Herald's Lee Barfknecht.

Big 12 schools were so panicked, apparently, that a group of five of them — Nebraska, Iowa State, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M — tried to join the Big Ten as a packaged deal.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini's Wes Lunt compares himself to Tom Brady in interview]

Here are some details via Barfknecht's report:

A Big 12 athletic director, who spoke to The World-Herald on condition of anonymity, said he contacted Big Ten athletic directors and presidents with whom he was familiar in June 2010.

The topic: Was the Big Ten, which had 11 members at the time, interested in adding five Big 12 schools?

The feedback from Big Ten school officials was positive, both sources said. The sticking point was devising a revenue-sharing plan to satisfy all. It would have taken at least three to four years for that many incoming schools to hit the financial payoffs sought for moving.

[MORE BIG TEN: Ohio State QB Braxton Miller switching to wide receiver]

The five-school transfer never happened, of course, and Barfknecht pointed out that it was never a concrete proposal, either. While that was all being discussed, Nebraska and Colorado got antsy, leaving the Big 12 for the Big Ten and Pac-12, respectively. The following year, Missouri and Texas A&M left the Big 12 for the SEC. The Big 12 got Texas to calm down and stay and plugged its holes with TCU and West Virginia. The Big Ten added Maryland and Rutgers last year, moving to 14 instead of the 16-school mega-conference that would have developed had that five-team swing happened five years ago.

Conference realignment never seems to stop — at least talk of it doesn't, anyway — as plenty of pressure lies with the Big 12 these days thanks to last season's situation in which a tie for the league championship likely kept the conference out of the inaugural College Football Playoff.

The Big Ten, meanwhile, seems happy at 14.

We'll just have to sit back and use our imaginations to picture what it would have been like to have Texas A&M in the same conference as Penn State or have Ohio State vs. Oklahoma become a burgeoning rivalry.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.