Illinois AD throws pity party after Big Ten affirms Michigan is sole Champion

The Michigan Wolverines are officially Big Ten champions, despite the thoughts of the Illinois Fighting Illini.

Michigan claimed the crown after a blowout win over the Michigan State Spartans last week with the conference’s best winning percentage. They did play less games thanks to a pause in the schedule due to COVID-19 concerns.

Of course, that didn’t stop the Illini from attempting to declare themselves as co-winners of the honor.

“I think when it’s all said and done, we will be co-champions,” National Player of the Year candidate Ayo Dosunmu said. “I mean, look at our résumé. We lost four games, I believe. We beat Michigan, who are the champs. They didn’t play three more games. Any day in the Big Ten, anyone can be beat. I think we proved that we’re one of the best teams in the country. With this win tonight, we believe we’re Big Ten champions.”

Taking things a step further, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman penned a lengthy letter to fans saying that he begged the Big Ten to name his school as co-champs with Michigan, but was turned down.

“For the first time in my memory (and, truly, maybe for the first time ever), the team that has won the most games — in this case, two more games — is not recognized with even a share of the conference championship,” he wrote. “This defies logic.”

He claims that he raised the issue with the Big Ten weeks ago as well, but was rebuffed then as well.

“In November, the conference agreed that winning percentage would be used to determine the regular-season champion in basketball,” he wrote. “The winning percentage metric was meant to ‘level the playing field’ for those teams that might suffer more significant disruption than others. … What we did not anticipate, and what we now realize, is that this same metric would actually penalize a team — in this case, Illinois — that was fortunate enough to play its entire schedule of 20 games.”

“Despite our advocacy, I learned late yesterday that our efforts were unsuccessful,” Whitman wrote. “Michigan will remain outright champions.”

“To the team, I offer my sincerest apology,” he wrote. “You deserve better. Regrettably, we have only one recourse at this juncture. Win. And keep winning.”

Can someone get this guy a box of tissues?

– – Quotes via Josh Whitman of the Illinois Fighting Illini Link – –

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