Lawmakers Want Another Big Ten School in Illinois

The 12-team conference is set to expand to include 14 schools next year

Two state senators say Illinois needs another Big Ten Conference school.

A bill has been introduced by Lisle Republican Michael Connelly and Palatine Republican Matt Murphy.

The two say their measure would study what's needed for a public university in the state to join the conference that already includes Northwestern and the University of Illinois.

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has become highly competitive to the point where we are seeing students with excellent grades and test scores get shut out of attending our in-state, public Big Ten school,” Murphy said in a statement.

Connelly says tight admissions policies at Illinois mean some students who want to attend a large state school in a marquee athletics conference look to other states such as Indiana and Iowa.

“Given the large number of Illinois residents who attend Big Ten school outside of our state, the demand for a second in-state Big Ten university is clearly high," Connelly said.

The 12-team conference is set to expand to include 14 schools next year. New members need support from at least 70 percent of schools to join.

A conference spokesman said the Big Ten Conference is a non-profit organization that operates under articles and bylaws of incorporation that govern such requests.

"Membership in the conference requires written application submitted to the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors, and admission shall be by approval of not less than 70% of the members."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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