Legends and Leaders to stay through 2011

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany made some surprising comments last month to WGN Radio in Chicago about the league's new division names, Legends and Leaders.

Delany sounded a little defeated following the public outcry about the names and said the league would "probably revisit it after the first of the year."

These words elevated hopes for change.

But the real surprise would have been the Big Ten scrapping the names just weeks after revealing them.

League officials confirmed Thursday that Legends and Leaders will remain through the 2011 season, although the evaluation process Delany referenced last month will continue.

I'm not surprised by this one bit. The Big Ten isn't the type of league to dump something new just because the first reaction isn't positive.

"We can't test them until we play a season," Big Ten chief communications officer Diane Dietz told me today. "We have to see them through."

The Big Ten will continue to conduct market research and evaluate the response to the divisions both during and after the 2011 season. Perhaps we could see a change if the outcry remains, but I doubt it.

I hate to break it to you, but division names really aren't all that important. It's much more important which teams are in what divisions.

Although I don't like the Big Ten's selections, the league's real mistake was trying to make the division names announcement such a big deal, especially during a time (mid December) when no games are being played. The league paid a price with the backlash, but I'd expect the focus to shift to more important topics going forward.