Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference (stylized B1G, formerly the Western Conference and the Big Nine Conference) is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. It is based in Rosemont, Illinois. For over eight decades this conference consisted of ten universities, and presently has 14 member and two affiliate institutions. They compete in the NCAA Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A, the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport. The conference includes the flagship public university in each of 11 states stretching from New Jersey to Nebraska, as well as two additional public land-grant schools and a private university.
The Big Ten Conference was established in 1895 when Purdue University president James H. Smart and representatives from the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and University of Wisconsin gathered at Chicago's Palmer House Hotel to set policies aimed at regulating intercollegiate athletics. In 1899, Indiana University and the University of Iowa joined the conference to increase the membership to nine schools. In 1905, the conference was officially incorporated as the "Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives". The conference is one of the nation's oldest, predating the founding of the NCAA by a decade, and was one of the first collegiate conferences to sponsor men's basketball.
Big Ten member institutions are major research universities with large financial endowments and strong academic reputations. All institutions except full member University of Nebraska and associate member Notre Dame are members of the Association of American Universities. Large student enrollment is a hallmark of Big Ten Universities, as 12 of the 14 members feature enrollments of 30,000 or more students (Nebraska and Northwestern being the exceptions). Northwestern is the lone private university among Big Ten membership (the University of Chicago, a private university, left the conference in 1946). Collectively, Big Ten universities educate more than 520,000 total students and have 5.7 million living alumni. Big Ten universities engage in $9.3 billion in funded research each year. Big Ten universities are also members of the Big Ten Academic Alliance, an academic consortium. In 2014–2015, members generated more than $10 billion in research expenditures.Though the Big Ten existed for nearly a century as an assemblage of universities located primarily in the Midwest, the conference's geographic footprint now stretches east to the Atlantic Ocean. Despite the conference's name, the Big Ten has grown to fourteen members, with the following universities accepting invitations to join: Pennsylvania State University in 1990, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2011, and both the University of Maryland and Rutgers University in 2014. Johns Hopkins University was invited in 2012 to join the Big Ten as an associate member participating in men's lacrosse, and in 2015, it was also accepted as an associate member in women's lacrosse. Notre Dame joined the Big Ten on July 1, 2017 as an associate member in men's ice hockey. The D1 Independent Arizona State Sun Devils men's ice hockey team will join the conference for one season in 2020–21 as an all-road team, as a COVID-19 pandemic contingency.