Notes from Big Ten spring meetings

CHICAGO -- A few assorted nuggets from Day 2 of the Big Ten spring meetings at the Palmer House Hilton:

The issue of whether or not the Big Ten should go to a nine-game conference schedule won't get resolved during these meetings. But commissioner Jim Delany said that all the schools are "in principle open to it."

The only holdup, Delany said, is figuring out a way in which every team could still get seven home games each season. And that's up to the league office to determine.

"I really do think the onus is back on us," he said. "We got some scheduling information on the out years, and now we have to be able to put that together in a way that satisfies all 12 athletic directors."

Delany said there's no firm timetable on a decision but that the league is "looking at it now."

  • A pair of Big Ten teams announced the loss of running backs on Tuesday.

    Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said that Adam Robinson, the Hawkeyes' starting tailback and leading rusher the past two seasons, will not return to the program. Robinson had been dismissed from the team following a marijuana arrest in December but remained in school on scholarship hoping for another chance.

    Wisconsin senior tailback Zach Brown is planning to transfer, head coach Bret Bielema said. Brown, whose best year came when he rushed for 568 yards as a freshman in 2007, was buried behind Montee Ball and James White on the Badgers' depth chart. Because he is on course to graduate this summer, he could become immediately eligible for another team this season.

  • Count Pat Fitzgerald among the supporters of embattled Ohio State coach Jim Tressel.

    The Northwestern coach said he sent Tressel a text message earlier this year that said "Thinking of you ... got your back" as the Buckeyes' leader was dealing with stories of potential NCAA violations. Fitzgerald said he has had a great relationship with Tressel over the years while the two served on various committees together.

    "More than anything, I tried to let him know I was there and have his back," Fitzgerald said. "He's been unbelievable with me since the moment I had a chance to start a relationship with him, and I've always been thankful for that."

  • Purdue coach Danny Hope is willing to go along with whatever the conference wants, but he's in favor of holding the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis for a couple of reasons.

    "Being from south Florida, I'd rather be under a roof that time of year, but that's just a personal preference," he said. "Certainly, having it close to home under a roof is exciting to me. That part's a no-brainer."

  • Hope said the coaches once again discussed the idea of an early signing date in college football at this year's meetings, but that there are still many issues to iron out.

    "It's a good idea with a lot of merit, but I don't think we're any further this year than we were a year ago," he said. "The one thing about these meetings that's maybe the most intriguing is that we talk about the same things year in and year out."