Could Illinois Support Another Big Ten School?

Gonzaga v IllinoisMy CBS Chicago column from March 25 …

(CBS) Michigan has two, and they’re both in the Sweet 16. Ohio and Iowa have two apiece, and all of them heard their names called on Selection Sunday. Indiana also has two, and … well, perhaps they’re not the best example right now.

Throughout the Midwest, several states have a pair of large public universities that are both members of major conferences (Michigan/Michigan State and Indiana/Purdue in the Big Ten; Iowa in the Big Ten and Iowa State in the big 12; and Ohio State in the Big Ten and Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference), and many of them enjoy athletic and academic success.

Illinois, stands alone in that regard, but two local legislators want to change that.

Last week, state senators Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) and Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) introduced legislation in Springfield to study the feasibility of making one of Illinois’ current state universities a Big Ten school.

According to the Naperville Sun, the measure, Senate Bill 3526, passed the Senate Higher EducationCommittee on March 19 and will be called for a Senate vote soon. Both lawmakers say they are pursuing the idea due to concerns that some suburban students are leaving Illinois to attend other, high-priced Big Ten institutions out of state.

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