Big Ten keeping division names

The Big Ten will keep its new division names through the 2011 season, league officials confirmed Thursday.

The new names, Legends and Leaders, sparked a backlash after being unveiled last month. League commissioner Jim Delany told WGN-Radio in Chicago on Dec. 16 that he wanted to let the names "breathe a little bit," adding that they could be re-evaluated after Jan. 1.

Although the league will continue to evaluate the names and conduct market research on their sustainability, it never planned to change them before the 2011 season.

"We can't test them until we play a season," Big Ten chief communications officer Diane Dietz told ESPN.com on Thursday. "We can't know until we use them."

Big Ten division play begins this fall with the addition of Nebraska. The league holds its first football championship Dec. 3 in Indianapolis.

Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espnritt@gmail.com