Offseason news wrap: Big Ten announces football divisions

The occasional blog post recapping news you might have missed during the offseason. 

>> As reported earlier by several media outlets, the Big Ten formally announced its new football divisional alignments for when Maryland and Rutgers join the fray. The new format begins in 2014 and the conference will switch to a nine-game league schedule in 2016.

The East Division features Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers. The West Division features Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

Per the press release, “each school will play the other six schools in its division plus two teams from the other division in 2014 and 2015, which will serve as transitional years in which the schools will still be playing eight-game schedules. Beginning in 2016, each school will play three teams from the other division as part of its nine-game schedule.”

Once the nine-game schedule begins in 2016, East Division teams will host five conference home games in even-numbered years. West Division gets the honors in odd-numbered years.

>> More on this later, but four Terps signed NFL deals this week. Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey was the lone draftee, chosen in the seventh round by the Green Bay Packers. Defensive lineman A.J. Francis (Miami Dolphins), tight end Matt Furstenburg (Baltimore Ravens) and linebacker Darin Drakeford (Kansas City Chiefs) all signed free agent contracts.

Among the notable graduates currently not signed are defensive lineman Joe Vellano, a 2011 all-American, and linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield, who’s been rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last fall.

[UPDATE: By Monday afternoon, Vellano had signed a free agent deal with the New England Patriots]

>> Coach Mark Turgeon issued two offers this weekend, to 2014 wing Jared Nickens and 2014 power forward Martin Geben.

Per 247sports.com, Nickens has offers from nine schools other than Maryland, including Miami. Geben, a local product from St. Maria Goretti who plays AAU for Team Takeover, boasts mostly mid-major options.

>> Rutgers transfer Eli Carter is currently visiting Florida, per his Twitter. He is deciding between the Gators and Maryland, but cancelled his visit to College Park.

>> Alex Len Mock Draft Watch: DraftExpress.com has Len seventh overall, NBAdraft.net has him sixth to Sacramento and ESPN.com’s Chad Ford has Len seventh on his big board.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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