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Big Ten network cuts academics, citing low ratings

The Big Ten network started in 2007 with plans to mix up to 660 hours of non-sports programs every year into its menu of football, basketball and other sports.

The network has added viewers and generated money for its schools. But the BTN has cut back non-sports programs and hired outside production companies to produce high-quality shows.

Network President Mark Silverman says it became clear that Big Ten schools wouldn't be able to produce nearly enough programs to meet those initial goals or meet quality standards.

Critics on some campuses are unhappy with changes that have seen some programs stop. Others argue that BTN is a commercial venture and that it will adapt just like MTV or CNN.