Pushing ahead with names

Legends and Leaders, the names for the Big Ten’s two new divisions, are sticking around. At least through next football season.

With the addition of Nebraska as its 12th team, the Big Ten announced in December it would field two six-team divisions in football with the winners meeting in a league title game.

The names sparked an uproar from critics, who questioned the suitability and asked the league to reconsider.

Big Ten chief communications officer Diane Dietz said Friday the league will do market research during the 2011 season to see how the names play out.

“We’ve always said we’ve heard the feedback. We’re listening. We want to test them and the only way to test them is to let them do what they were intended to do,” Dietz said.

Commissioner Jim Delany said in an earlier radio interview the names Legends and Leaders were picked to highlight the conference’s rich history and acknowledged he was surprised by the negative feedback.

Nebraska will be joined in the Legends Division by Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Iowa. The Leaders Division will include Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

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