Arrogance and Scheming in the Big Ten: Michigan State's Quest for Membership and Michigan's Powerful Opposition, by David J. Young, M.D., exposes a fascinating, yet convoluted, chapter in the history of the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives-better known as the Big Ten.
Following the December 1939 announcement by the University of Chicago of plans to disband its football program, rumors were rampant in the press and among among sports fans about potential suitors to replace the Maroons. A number of programs confidentially expressed an interest in joining the organization. But only two schools, Michigan State College and the University of Pittsburgh, made any effort at applying for membership.
The Spartans and Panthers had strategic reasons, unique to each institution, for seeking the seat ultimately vacated by Chicago in June of 1946. Arrogance and Scheming in the Big Ten explores the roles university administrators, academicians, and athletic leaders at prominent Midwest institutions-Michigan, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Illinois-played in either aiding or hindering those suitors.
Through painstaking research, the author dispelled a widely held myth about how a mid-sized, agriculturally based land-grant college achieved its coveted prize: membership in the exclusive club. He also discovered in letters and documents, hidden in 13 archives, that many of those highly respected university leaders, as well as the first two conference commissioners, were not opposed to using suspect tactics-rumors, twisted truth, espionage, and insider scoops-to impact the intriguing course of events leading to what proved to be the unpopular selection of a new member of the Big Ten in May of 1949.