Big Ten Network To Launch Top Athletes Countdown Project

Big Ten Network will salute the top 50 student-athletes in the conference's history with a countdown profile series.
With the legendary Keith Jackson serving as host, Big Ten Icons is slated to debut Sept. 18 with icon No. 20, following the network's football coverage. The list, determined by a panel of on-air talent, network executives, conference officials and long-time Big Ten observers, will continue to count down every Tuesday night through the end of football season and into the spring, when the top icon will be revealed around the time of the conference's men's basketball tournament.
Prior to the show's on-air launch, icons 50 through 21 will be revealed online daily beginning in early September at and The Web site will include a text and video feature on each icon.
The event also includes video on demand, mobile applications and myriad marketing and social networking activities that tip off March 11 at the Big Ten Men's basketball tourney in Indianapolis and extend until the top icon is unveiled.
Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said the network is creating a series that will spark conversation among sports fans everywhere.
"What will make Big Ten Icons stand out is the depth of the storytelling focusing on collegiate rather than pro careers and highlighting previously unknown stories behind the success of these student-athletes," he said in a statement. "The rankings themselves are sure to generate quite a bit of discussion."