The biggest news to come out of the Big Ten meetings might have surrounded the developments regarding a ninth league game (no movement) or 12th team (even less movement), but for me those two issues pale in comparison to the most important one.
Compared to the other BCS conferences, the Big Ten is absolutely swimming in cash. The Big Ten pulled in $154 million last year for revenue sharing among its 11 schools. The ACC and SEC came second and third, respectively, with a little over $135 million each, while the Big 12 pulled in $103 million.
It's a particularly great result considering the Big Ten's footprint is in some of the most recessed parts of our recession-hit country - especially in Michigan.
Michigan State, specifically, had a remarkable financial year. Athletic Director Mark Hollis told the Lansing State Journal that MSU will break even for the 2008/09 year. However, it's a bit too early to celebrate State's holding off the recession as football, basketball and hockey season tickets were mostly ordered before the September/October stock market crash.
The big question mark comes this football season, as the sport that bankrolls the entire athletic department has to convince spectators with 401Ks worth about half what they were a year ago to reinvest in fall football Saturdays.
Based on last year's results, if anyone can pull this off, Hollis can.