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  • The Big Ten Conference, formerly Western Conference and Big Nine Conference, is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference in the United States. The conference competes in the NCAA's Division I; its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A, the highest level of NCAA competition in that sport. The conference includes the flagship public university in each of 11 states stretching from New Jersey to Nebraska, as well as two additional public land grant schools and a private university. The Big Ten Conference established itself almost 120 years ago as the premiere collective of academic institutions in the country when, in 1896, then–Purdue University president James H. Smart and representatives from the University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, Northwestern University and University of Wisconsin gathered at the Palmer House hotel in Chicago to set policies aimed at regulating intercollegiate athletics. In 1905, the conference was officially incorporated as the "Intercollegiate Conference Athletic Association".

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