If you look at the Big Ten’s scholarship proposal…

as this year’s conference expansion story, it makes a helluva lot more sense.

… Then Delany said this: “How do we get back more toward the collegiate model and regulatory system that is based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on a level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody else can do?”

Translation: We can afford to give the athletes some money and we are going to seriously think about doing so. If you can’t, that’s your problem.

SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told me Thursday that this is something he would like to discuss. And I’ll tell you this: If Slive and Delany want something to happen, there is a good chance it will.

That sound you just heard was the commissioners of the MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and Sun Belt banging their collective heads on the table. Keeping up with the big boys is tough enough to do as it is. This would make it nearly impossible.

When Mr. Conventional Wisdom tells you this thing’s got legs, you really should pay attention.

Barrett Sallee gets it.

Full-cost scholarships, conference realignment, a non-AQ playoff, and yes, even oversigning legislation all are indicators that we are headed to the age of the super-conference – and it’s coming sooner rather than later.

If the B1G institutes full-cost scholarships, the other five BCS conferences will follow suit almost instantaneously. It isn’t about fairness or giving athletes the proper compensation for their work (because that’s what it is). It’s about separation.

There’s an added bonus for separation, as Ivan Maisel points out.

1. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, a very smart guy, suggested Tuesday at the conference’s spring meetings that the Big Ten should consider putting more money in the pockets of its student-athletes. The AQs, nearly all of whom have lucrative new TV contracts, may be able to afford this. The non-AQs almost surely can’t. If this idea is the first step toward a new, big-money NCAA division. …

2. … Wouldn’t that end any antitrust questions regarding access to the BCS?

This is shaping up as such an obvious win-win for the power conferences, that you begin to wonder why they’re being so deliberate about it.



Filed under College Football

14 responses to “If you look at the Big Ten’s scholarship proposal…

  1. TennesseeDawg

    For the Utahs and Boise States of the CFB world, you basically screwed up. You could have continued to cash big checks playing the big boys and from the occasional BCS bowl game but you had to get greedy wanting more of the pie than you deserve. Now you are about to get left in the dust without anything.


  2. Pingback: If you look at the Big Ten's scholarship proposal… | Get The Picture - Big Ten Illustrated

  3. Dawgfan

    This is an unpopular opinion I’m sure, but watching this happen breaks my heart. College football has become such a big money, power game. I’m not an nfl fan for a reason and it seems as though we’re increasingly becoming more of an nfl lite as the years go by. I really hate that.


  4. Dave

    I think Delaney and Slive are working from the same playbook at this point, which is to move the discussion from the “one size fits all” movement. And honestly, that’s fine with me.

    The o/s regs will provide coaches with enough leeway to take some risks but not enough to keep Houston Nutt in business. The system will provide more protection and options for the Elliott Porters of the world, protections that members of the SEC can afford. B1G will adopt SEC’s roster rules. SEC will adopt B1G’s stipend rules. Both turn some negative PR into “it’s all about the student-athletes” initiatives that make the conferences more attractive destinations for the best players. Why does this really surprise anyone?


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    Delaney and Slive are being deliberate for the same reason that people with old money try to be quiet about spending it. Publicity is unavoidable, but they’re trying to pull it off before any whiners get wind and say it’s unfair just because.


    • JG Shellnutt

      I think if they wanted to pull it off before any whiners get wind and say it’s unfair, they would not have said anything at all. They would have just done it.

      I think they’re being deliberate as a counter punch to the “equal rights movement of the mid-majors.” I think they’re airing this out there quite publicly and quite intentionally in an effort to show the current whiners just how much (or little) they would be left with if they keep whining and ruin this whole thing. Essentially saying, we’ll take our little red wagons and go play without you guys…see how you like that.


  6. RhymerDawg

    I am not sure I get all of this. It could be my naivete or just simply misunderstanding the issues behind the issues. My understanding of all this is that because the power conferences have all this extra cash they need to pay student-athletes more money. The reasoning, as I see it is, is blurry. So let me ask if I got the scenario correct.
    1. Delaney is saying that they should pay more cash because it is about the actual worth of the student-athlete.
    2. Paying cash will prevent student-athletes from breaking the rules.
    3. Delaney sees major governmental influence into the cash cow that is the NCAA and is attempting an “end-around” any potential problems.
    4. Delaney wants more disparity between the have and have-nots so the Big1G can win more games and post-season play.

    If this is correct, then I am confused. Have we side-stepped the issue of amateurism in collegiate athletics? And is there no attempt to realize that giving more money to ethically questionable, not all or even a majority, student-athletes will not prevent problems with morality? The problem is breaking the rules and Delaney and gang seem to want to justify kids breaking the rules .

    If I have this wrong please let me know.


    • First off, I’m not sure I’d characterize Delany’s position as one of necessity. I think this is an issue which he has chosen to raise.

      I think that some of what is being said about this proposal and how it benefits student-athletes is lip service, but I don’t believe there is any intention here to skirt the amateurism rules.

      As for the haves and have-nots, what Delany is gunning for is not more wins for the Big Ten, but a separation between the power conferences and the mid-major schools which can’t afford to keep up with the Jones on this front. In that regard, this seems to be a brutally effective wedge issue.


  7. RhymerDawg

    Thanks. It seemed lip service to me but I could not clarify that. The lip service towards benefiting student-athletes left me blinded to the real issue; Big 1G becoming more of a mid-major conference if tOSU gets slammed. Got it.


  8. Pingback: The Week’s Best, 5/22 – 5/28 « The Nazarene Candidate