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Fourteen, obviously. Think we’re bad at math? Well, you’ve got us there. But that doesn’t change the facts we’re about to drop. The roots of the Big Ten go back to 1895, when a handful of Midwestern university leaders met to regulate intercollegiate athletics. A year later, representatives from Purdue, the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and the University of Wisconsin established the Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Association, though it wouldn’t be officially incorporated until 1905. Indiana University and the University of Iowa joined in 1899, and Ohio State followed in 1912. Michigan dropped out in 1908 (couldn’t cut it, tsk) but returned to the flock in 1917; this addition brought the total membership to 10 and earned the conference its current name. In 1946, the University of Chicago withdrew from the Big Ten, but Michigan State rectified the accounting discrepancy when it joined in 1949. Penn State came on the scene in 1990, making 1989 the last year the Big Ten truly consisted of 10 schools. Then came the University of Nebraska in 2011, and the University of Maryland and Rutgers University in 2012, bringing us to an even Bigger Ten (as in 14). And don’t forget the Big Ten’s two affiliate members in this lopsided equation: Johns Hopkins University and Notre Dame are members only in select sports. Oh, and by the by, effective August 2, 2024, Big Ten math will evolve again. UCLA and the University of Southern California will officially join the club, and you’ll have to rewire your brain to equate the Big Ten with a super set of 16 schools. But for now, the UW remains a fearsome fourteenth of the Big Ten Conference.

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