Category Archives: Big Ten Football

Pleading poverty

The NCAA is appealing the O’Bannon case.  Wait, you say, did I miss something?  Has there already been a trial?

Nah, but why should that stop anything?  Other than the trial’s start, of course.

Lawyers for the NCAA on Friday night filed two motions that could further delay the start of a long-awaited trial in a lawsuit relating to the use of college athletes’ names and likenesses and the association’s limits on what major-college football and men’s basketball players can receive for playing sports.

Every day of delay is another day the schools don’t have to cut the student-athletes in on the deal.  And that deal is looking more lucrative by the day.

Negotiations for the next Big Ten television contract haven’t started, but that hasn’t stopped the league from projecting revenue for the 2017-18 academic year — the first year of the new deal.

In a document obtained by the Journal & Courier through an open records request from Purdue University, 12 of the 14 schools are projected to receive $44.5 million each through the league’s distribution plan.

My fingers and toes don’t work as well as they used to, but that looks like a contract running north of half a billion smackers a year for the conference.  And Jim Delany would have you believe his guys would walk away from that kind of money in a heartbeat if student-athletes get some.  Division III, my ass.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Crossing Delany

It turns out after adding on new schools for his television network, Jim Delany approached Dan Beebe about a swap of conference names.  Beebe told Delany to buzz off.  Boy, wouldn’t you have liked to have been a fly on the wall once Delany got off the phone after that conversation?

I guess nobody’s told Delany there isn’t a Big Fourteen conference out there.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football

Jim Delany can always use a good chuckle.

Sooner or later, this is bound to be good for a quote:

State Sen. Michael Connelly (R-Naperville) wants there to be another public Big Ten school in Illinois.
Connelly and state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) have introducted legislation in Springfield to study the feasibility of making one of the current state universities a Big Ten school.
The measure, Senate Bill 3526, would create a study commission to explore the possibility of establishing an existing Illinois public university as another Big Ten university. The bill passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on March 19 and will be called for a Senate vote soon.
The two lawmakers said the idea developed due to concerns that some suburban students seem to be leaving Illinois to attend other, high-priced Big Ten institutions out of state.

“This is something that has been under the radar but is now getting a much stronger drum beat,” Connelly said. “I’ve got three kids that are college age and we know that there are a lot of kids with 34 ACT scores and high class rank that are rejected by the University of Illinois and wind up going to places like Kansas and Indiana and other states. Michigan has Michigan and Michigan State — two Big Ten public schools — and we thought why not do a feasibility study to see if we could do the same?”

Sort of like, if you pass it, they will come.

The measure passed the Illinois Senate, by the way.

The Big Ten has not spoken with Murphy about his proposal, he said.

Now there’s a surprise.  I’m sure Big Jim will be calling you any day now, fellas.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Political Wankery

It’s not like you’ve got anything better to do on Friday night.

Big Ten Network programming director Jim Delany is floating his next big idea.

Would you be OK with the University of Wisconsin football team playing an occasional home game on Friday night?

How about a prime time night game in November when sitting outdoors could expose you to uncomfortable conditions?

Both ideas are years away and neither is a certainty, but they are curious talking points for Big Ten Conference administrators meeting this week in Chicago.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is trying to get feedback to be used in negotiating the next series of TV deals for the league. The current contracts run through 2016 (with Fox for the conference football championship game) and ’17 (with ESPN and ABC for regular-season games).

And here’s the paragraph that summarizes everything I know and love about the current state of college football:

If the networks want Big Ten games on Friday nights — a slot traditionally reserved for high schools — Delany wants to know where his constituents stand and an idea of what a commitment like that would be worth.

It feels like there’s a word missing there… I can’t put my finger on it… wait a minute… oh, yeah – fans!

Shit, who am I kidding?  As Jerry Hinnen puts it,

The truth is that as distasteful as Big Ten football on a Friday night must sound to the league traditionalists on first glance, a 14-team league that’s expanded in no small part expressly for the purpose of developing its television network must find ways of maximizing that network — and as of today, Friday nights are a  when it comes to reaching viewers. If, say, Rutgers-Purdue is going to be buried beneath a wave of six other league games on your standard October Saturday, is there really so much harm in moving it to a Friday night and snagging both teams a few more eyeballs?

There might be if you’re a ticket-holding fan, of course. But — sadly — does that even matter with the league already all-in on the Big Ten Network? The Friday experiment may or may not come to fruition, but at this point it doesn’t seem wise to bet against it.

Delany didn’t add Rutgers to the conference because of a concern the Big Ten wasn’t getting enough asses in the seats.  You’ve got to grab those rare untapped resources wherever you can find them.

I give this five years, max, to become a reality.  And it won’t be a once in a blue moon deal when it does.  Stay tuned.


Filed under Big Ten Football

The opposite of a reserve fund

Jeebus“(T)he Rutgers athletics department received nearly $47 million in subsidies from the university’s allocations fund to make up for a shortfall in the approximately $79 million athletics budget during the 2012-13 season.”

Jeebus, Jeebus.

The nearly $47 million subsidy from an institution that partially relies on taxpayer funds means the state university subsidized 59.5 percent of the athletics department’s total allocations. That’s the largest percentage since 2005 — a 15.8 percent spike from last year — and its total allocated revenue is an amount that is greater than the total athletic operating revenues of all but 53 of Division I’s 228 public school athletics programs in 2011-12.

Jeebus, Jeebus, Jeebus.

Although the student fees subsidy increased 3.8 percent from last year, direct-institutional support more than doubled from the $18.5 million that the university provided in 2012. The more than $37.1 million is almost double the greatest amount of direct institutional support any Division I public school has received in a single year since 2004-05, and it would have covered the total operating expenses of 164 Division I public-school athletics departments in 2011-12.

But Jim Delany’s gonna make it all better.

A $1.26 million drop in ticket sales and $2.8 million less in contributions helped contribute to a $4 million overall decrease in generated revenue. Rutgers officials are confident the ticket figure, which at $8.7 million dropped to its lowest point in six years, will soar next year thanks to a schedule that includes traditional Big Ten football powers Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Rutgers’ President expects the athletics department to be financially independent within the next six years once it begins receiving the full share of the Big Ten’s per-school distribution in 2020.  He better hope those cable subscribers show up in droves.

There are days when I can’t bitch about Greg McGarity’s fiscal prudence.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

Amateurism is good for business.

You will be shocked, shocked to learn that the Big Ten Network has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the O’Bannon case supporting the NCAA’s assertion that if players are paid, the news is doomed.

Tremble as you read this:

“The right of a television network or newspaper to televise or report on matters of public interest — whether a basketball game, a parade, a natural disaster, a march on Washington, or a government shutdown — are fundamental to the existence of a free press,” the broadcasters wrote. “If Plaintiffs are allowed to proceed with their claims in this case, the news media will be substantially constrained from televising and reporting newsworthy events, and the public will be deprived of vital, necessary, constitutionally-protected news reporting.”

Okay, I might be willing to admit that the Big Ten title game was close to a natural disaster… ah, hell, I can’t even work up the energy to do a proper snark here.  The Big Ten Network isn’t the news media; it’s an entertainment arm of a large college conference generating significant amounts of revenue that Jim Delany, its programming director, doesn’t want to share with student-athletes.

The attempt to wrap that with a First Amendment bow is nothing more than him pissing down your leg and telling you it’s raining buckets.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Tuesday morning buffet

Start digging in…

  • Mark Richt on Todd Gurley“I think he’s one of the best backs in America. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I think most people that have seen him play would say that as well, and I’m going to leave it at that because I’m really not going to be interested in talking too much about next year.”
  • Doesn’t sound like Pete Fiutak’s interested in talking about Gurley’s 2014 season, either.
  • Again, with all the injuries this season, it’s impressive to realize that Georgia will enter the Gator Bowl averaging 38.2 points a game, which is slightly ahead of last season’s school-record clip of 37.8.
  • Everybody at GTP loves a little Lexicon action, so you might want to give Holly Anderson’s a good look.
  • BCS to Fiesta Bowl:  all is forgiven, fellas.
  • You can probably guess what a bunch of head coaches who have done it in the NFL and at the college level say is the biggest difference.
  • Sure, there’s a certain shooting fish in a barrel aspect to this, but it’s still a fun read.
  • Can’t wait to hear Bo Pelini get asked about this at the bowl presser.
  • Chris Conley, on that 87-yarder in the Cap One Bowl:  “I was definitely out of breath when I finished that run. It was fun,” Conley said. “Anyone could have scored right there. There was no one within 20 yards of me. If I would have gotten caught there, I would have been ragged on by all the guys.”
  • And whatever else Conley has planned for Todd Gurley in his little movie, I sure hope there’s a scene with Gurley giving Darth Vader a stiff arm.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

“That model is starting to fall apart for a bowl trip.”

Boy, Nebraska fans are psyched for the Gator Bowl.



Filed under Big Ten Football

Congratulations to Jim Delany!

I have no doubt that the TV ratings for the Big Ten championship game more than make up for getting shut out of the national title game.

Best wishes for continued success in your role as head programmer for the Big Ten Network.  And enjoy the Rose Bowl, sir.


Filed under Big Ten Football

“I’d rather have the problem of too much money than too little.”

Brian Cook pointed me towards this New York Times wankfest of Jim Delany’s business acumen that I somehow had missed.  Again, Delany always seems to come across to me as a college football version of Jed Clampett, but I’m also fascinated by what everyone now sees as his primary mission.

James Duderstadt, who was president at Michigan from 1988 to 1996, said he worried that the needs of the network had superseded the mission of higher education. “Jim’s role in this is that he is responsible for the Big Ten Network,” he said. “The danger is that the presidents have not challenged that it decouples from the longstanding academic relationships and could destroy something of great value.”

Even the new kid on the block knows which way the winds blow these days.

As Mr. Delany negotiates new subscription rates for the Big Ten Network, Ms. Hermann, the athletic director at Rutgers, knows her objective. “We have to make our contribution to the Big Ten,” she said, “and get cable companies to pay for the Big Ten Network out here.”

Delany is unapologetic about this, and why shouldn’t he be?  It’s what the people paying him to do a job want.

While tuition at schools in the Big Ten and around the country has grown, most athletic department budgets remain separate from central administration. The influx in cash goes mostly to cover stadium improvements, new training facilities and rising salaries for coaches. In many states, coaches are now the highest-paid state employees. Mr. Delany made nearly $3 million in 2011.

“The hypocrisy is that money that’s generated makes a few people very, very rich,” Mr. Duderstadt said. “Athletic directors, coaches, assistant coaches, commissioners, too. But institutions are not winning and student-athletes get very little.”

Mr. Delany counters that those TV revenues paid for athletic scholarships worth $150 million last year in the Big Ten. Others question the value of scholarships for big-time football and basketball players, considering that the graduation rate for football players is 58 percent, and for basketball players, 47 percent; many also argue that these athletes should be paid, in light of the huge revenue they generate.

Too bad players don’t have a say in hiring conference commissioners.  You might hear something other than odes to amateurism being sung by those enriching themselves under the current arrangement.


Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness