The Big Ten announced last week that it's going to move its conference tournament to Washington, D.C., in 2017 and New York in 2018. The league obviously has prioritized expanding its influence — and television markets — toward the East, and some have hailed the move as providing a potential boost to recruiting.
Said Northwestern coach Chris Collins to the Chicago Tribune:
"The Midwest is our home region, but anytime we can be on the big stage in New York, that's a game-changer and worth whatever we have to deal with on the back end. It opens up new recruiting for our program."
That said, the league's natural footprint remains firmly embedded within the Midwest, and the tournament will move away from basketball-crazed state Indiana and other Big Ten hotbeds. Michigan State's Tom Izzo is among those who has expressed concerns about logistics, and other critics have said the costs outweigh the benefits.
Proponents of the move counter that the league’s ambitions ultimately require a competitive recruiting battleground on the East Coast, particularly now that the ACC and some former Big East powers have joined forces.
This week's question, then, is whether you view the Big Ten's trip east as a net positive for recruiting. Everyone knows the move is predicated around revenues, but will the Big Ten's jaunt move the needle in recruiting, or do you view any impact as minimal?
Brian Snow: I honestly don't see it having any real recruiting impact. I mean the first thing to realize is the kids themselves are in the middle of their state tournaments at that time, and that is their focus, so many won't even notice that the Big Ten Tournament has changed location.
On top of that, many of the Big Ten coaches don't want to deal with recruiting in New York City and New Jersey, which can be complex unless you really know the lay of the land down there, and after that, the Big Ten is already in the best area per capita for producing NBA first round draft picks, so why would they want to go to the NYC/NJ area anyway?
The reality is New York City isn't the area for producing talent that it was 25 years ago, so tapping into that market for the Big Ten isn't really that important anyway from a recruiting perspective since their own backyard is significantly better in that respect.
Beyond that, we are talking about New York City, small and medium sized events are basically irrelevant within the city. Unless it involves the NFL, or is the Rangers/Knicks in the playoffs, it isn't significantly newsworthy and doesn't create much buzz in the city itself, so I see no major benefit to this. Heck, I see no minor benefit either.
Evan Daniels: Honestly, I don't expect it to have any recruiting impact. I don't think a kid is making his college decision based on the location of a four-day conference tournament. There are plenty of other factors that go into these players picking schools, but the location of a conference tournament seems beyond minimal in the grand scheme of things.
At this point, every big conference tournament is on national television, so I'm not even sure it improves visibility all that much. It's not like Indianapolis and Chicago are small markets.
Josh Gershon: I don't see it having almost any impact. What advantage does having the tournament in New York have over schools that play in New York or other eastern cities multiple times a year? Why would Big Ten schools even consistently recruit New York when there is arguably more and better talent closer to home? It's good to get the conference that exposure, but we are talking about a minimal recruiting impact.
Rob Harrington: Maybe I’m just cynical, but when I see references to game geography and recruiting, I almost always assume it’s a cover for the real motivation: money.
I can see how it might have made a difference 40 years ago, before so many college games were televised and prior to the internet. These days, however, every major program gets its shot to play on TV.
Maybe there’s a branding issue involved and the Big Ten doesn’t want the ACC to become the only relevant conference in the Northeast, but there again, the recruiting battles occur among schools, not conferences. I understand the benefits of taking the tournament east, but to me recruiting isn’t one of them.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report