Category Archives: Big Ten Football

“It’s the best deal in the country.”

Ohio State’s Gene Smith is all in with Jim Delany’s vision of Big Ten expansion.

“I know that change is hard,” Smith said. “The reality is that the Big Ten needed to change in order to position ourselves for the 21st-century model of intercollegiate athletic competition.”

21st-century model?  What’s that, Gene?

Peel away from the emotional tug of tradition and view the latest expansion by the now 14-member Big Ten through the prism of economics.

That is how Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith sees this season’s addition of Maryland and Rutgers, schools located in Mid-Atlantic states, to the Midwestern-based league.

“From a business point of view, it makes huge sense,” Smith said. “This is a business deal. This is about money. Everybody wants to dodge that; I don’t. It’s about the stability of our conference for the long term.”

Nobody’s dodging that.  Except when they’re fighting player compensation.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Monday morning buffet

A light nosh before SEC Media Days kicks off.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Look For The Union Label, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The Blogosphere


Somewhere between cynical and pathetic:

In the Big Ten, Maryland will join a conference that loves tradition — and trophies. Twelve football matchups award hardware, such as the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana-Purdue), Paul Bunyan’s Axe (Minnesota-Wisconsin) and a wooden turtle called the Illibuck (Illinois-Ohio State). The Terps have already entered conversations with Rutgers and Penn State to create new trophies, several athletic department officials said.

Manufacturing tradition.

The good news is they won’t really need it until the novelty of their new surroundings wears off.  And then the conference can just go out and add a couple more schools to the mix.  Now there’s your Big Ten tradition!


UPDATE:  Is it too much to hope that Spurrier brings the snark about this nonsense?


Filed under Big Ten Football

Praise the Lord, it’s a miracle!

The conference which commissioner not too long ago threatened to take Division III if he didn’t get his way on player compensation has found Jesus.

This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes:

  • We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate.
  • If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student’s scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.
  • We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.
  • We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.

Now some might call this response to the presidents’ declaration needed perspective.

Others might call it a deserved victory lap for a group that finally got those in charge to pay some attention.

But in any event, it’s a different tune than we’re used to hearing the suits sing.  And all it took was looking like crap for a few days in a California courtroom.

Which makes this gold, Jerry:

The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us – presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the values of intercollegiate competition. Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than academics.

Gee, whose fault is that?


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label

Wednesday morning buffet

Some things to take your mind off… well, you know what.


Filed under Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are., The Blogosphere

This financial aggression will not stand, man.

Move over Big Ten and SEC.  There’s a new revenue dog taking over.

The college athletics conference financial pecking order has received a jolt – the Pacific-12 Conference new federal tax return shows it had more revenue during the 2012-13 fiscal year than either the Big Ten or Southeastern Conference.

The Pac-12 reported $334 million in total revenue for a fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the first that reflects the conference’s 12-year, $3 billion TV rights deals with ESPN and Fox; the debut of the wholly conference-owned Pac-12 Networks; and operations of the conference’s nascent marketing and media arm, Pac-12 Enterprises.

That total represents a $158.1 million increase in revenue over what the conference reported for the 2011-12 fiscal year and a more than tripling of the $111.8 million that the Pac-12 reported for 2010-11.

The Big Ten recently reported $318.4 million in total revenue for a fiscal year ending June 30, 2013. The SEC reported $314.5 million reported for a fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2013.

I imagine the Big Ten and SEC poobahs will give Delany and Slive a chance to match that.  But if two or three years go by and that hasn’t happened, look for some more fan friendly moves to be made.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Jim Delany still has the biggest Johnson.

This financial aggression will not stand, man.  What’s Mike Slive’s next move?


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Is the Big Ten Network Mike Slive’s canary in the coal mine?

Andy Staples, on the Big Ten’s decision to go to a nine-game conference schedule:

… Consider what Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany — whose league will play a nine-game conference schedule beginning in 2016 — told USA Today last week. “We want our fans to come to games,” Delany told the paper. “We’ve got to give them good games. We also have a network. We also have season-ticket holders.”

Translated, that means that in the age of 60-inch televisions, conference leaders didn’t think fans of Big Ten schools would continue to make the significant investment in season tickets if three or four home games a year were against MAC or FCS schools. Even with a league that has expanded to 14 schools, this keeps Ohio State or Michigan or Penn State visiting Minnesota consistently, and that should provide an incentive for fans as they decide whether to slap down hard-earned money for Golden Gophers season tickets…

“We also have a network” is not a declaration you’d have heard from a conference commissioner a few short years ago.  Yet there it is now as justification for an expanded conference schedule.

In that regard, the only difference between the Big Ten and the SEC is a head start. So, when Staples goes on to write,

… Ticket sales haven’t been a problem in the SEC, but privately some administrators have worried about the growing number of no-shows for certain games. A person who is currently paying to not come to games will soon realize he can save money by not paying to not come. This is why SEC schools have been trying to ramp up the in-stadium experience. Of course, the best way to improve the in-stadium experience is to bring in a quality opponent, and that fact — not criticism from coaches in other leagues — is more likely to induce change.

… it’s worth noting that the SEC hasn’t even begun to face the pressure that will be created by needing to feed its new baby with enough inventory.  From where I sit, I have to wonder when the financial reality from that hits the presidents hard enough to overcome the qualms shared by ADs and coaches about adding another conference opponent to the football schedule.  And I do mean when, not if.

Which is why I bet Mike Slive watches how much a nine-game regular season conference schedule affects the postseason chances for the Pac-12, the Big 12 and the Big Ten as closely as he watches how much the eight-game regular season conference schedule affects the postseason chances for the SEC.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Wednesday morning buffet

Trying to provide all the nourishment you need this morning…

  • Meet your dumbass of the day.
  • Northwestern’s AD is honest about it“There are some real positive residuals that have occurred from the conversation about unionization.”
  • On the other hand, it sounds like Kansas State hasn’t gotten the message yet.
  • You gotta love amateurism.
  • Here’s another missing kid from Georgia’s program.
  • Where does South Carolina go with the end of the crazy run of in state talent?  Spurrier’s got that program going nicely, so it’s probably not as big a deal as it might have been once.
  • Pat Dooley ranks the SEC schedules.  Georgia gets dinged for not playing Alabama or LSU, but no mention of same for the other two schools in the East with similar scheduling.
  • Dear Mr. Emmert…
  • For all that talk about power conference autonomy, it sure doesn’t seem like Division I is anywhere near ready to grant it.  The Big Ten is getting antsy about that.
  • The NCAA currently has no Division I major violations cases on its public database for the longest period without a completed major case since 1998.  No doubt that’s because every school in America has suddenly cleaned up its act.


Filed under 'Cock Envy, Big Ten Football, General Idiocy, Look For The Union Label, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery, SEC Football, The NCAA

“We want to be a conference.”

Big Jim Delany, on why playing a nine-game conference schedule is preferable:

One, it’s really hard to get quality non-conference games. People don’t want to go on the road because everybody is trying to get seven home games. Two, I don’t have anything against FCS, but they have a different number of scholarships for gosh’s sakes. What is that about? They have 20 fewer scholarships. I know they’re looking for a payday; I get that. Appalachian State beat Michigan. But I’m just saying for us, it’s more about binding a conference together and it’s about the difficulty of getting good non-conference opponents.

We want our fans to come to games. We’ve got to give them good games. We also have a network. We also have season-ticket holders. … What I really like is that every athlete in the Big Ten who plays football will play every opponent inside the four-year period. That’s what I like.

Yeah, I know part of that is shot taking at the SEC.  But when even an arrogant jerk like Delany who’s been focused on growing a TV network über alles (how ’bout that Rutgers, eh, Jim?) recognizes there are some inevitabilities when you expand a conference beyond twelve schools, it’s hard to see how Mike Slive is going to get by with an eight-game conference slate for very long.


Filed under Big Ten Football, SEC Football