This time, Jim Delany really means it. Really.

Andy Staples catches Big Jim’s brief from the O’Bannon case:

“… it has been my longstanding belief that The Big Ten’s schools would forgo the revenues in those circumstances and instead take steps to downsize the scope, breadth and activity of their athletic programs,” Delany wrote. “Several alternatives to a ‘pay for play’ model exist, such as the Division III model, which does not offer any athletics-based grants-in-aid, and, among others, a need-based financial model. These alternatives would, in my view, be more consistent with The Big Ten’s philosophy that the educational and lifetime economic benefits associated with a university education are the appropriate quid pro quo for its student athletes.”

To Andy’s eternal credit, he follows up with Delany, who plays the part of reluctant warrior.

“It’s not that we want to go Division III or go to need-based aid,” Delany said. “It’s simply that in the plaintiff’s hypothetical — and if a court decided that Title IX is out and players must be paid — I don’t think we’d participate in that. I think we’d choose another option. … If that’s the law of the land, if you have to do that, I don’t think we would.”

Pardon me if I laugh at this point.  The list of major principles that Delany has brazenly pushed, only to abandon conveniently, is pretty easy to recall:  four-team playoff over my dead body; Rose Bowl über alles; Penn State and “moral authority”.  That’s just the recent stuff off the top of my head.

Now we’re supposed to believe that the man who’s behaved more like the head of network programming than a conference commissioner of late and who’s thrown ridiculous sums of money at Maryland in order to gain access to a big television market is suddenly going to chuck all that to avoid sharing with student-athletes if that becomes the law of the land?  Puh-leeze.  It’s just a damned shame Delany can’t talk down to a federal judge the way he can to Karl Benson.

By the way, how much does the commissioner of the Pioneer League get paid these days?

And by the way once more, does anybody detect a similarity between that first quote about the Big Ten’s philosophy and what will always be my favorite Delany pearl?


UPDATE:  I digs me some of Brian Cook’s righteous indignation.

Stupid or deceitful? I think the latter given Jim Delany’s extremely malleable opinion on playoffs, but then again he is the man who gave us “Leaders and Legends” and wrote an open letter about how the SEC is poopy pants in 2007, thus dooming us to ALL THE SEC since. We may never know.

This is an organization that feels a university education is a sufficient quid pro quo for work that earns various people seven-figure salaries to play glorified secretary, and then fights lawsuits that would open up those university educations to more people because that might impinge on those seven figure salaries.

And this, of course, is a man who has spent the last twenty years thinking about nothing but money. He created a television network for money. He added Nebraska for money. He split Michigan and Ohio State in the vague hope of getting more money if they played twice. He added Rutgers and Maryland for money despite the fact that 11 of the 12 fanbases in the Big Ten would rather boil themselves in oil than play those teams in anything. Once he is presented with the idea he might have to share some of his money, he threatens to take the whole damn thing out of the system, into another system that will be exposed to the same legal precedent that prevents you from outrageously sharecropping athletes. The answer is probably “both.”

Translated into the original Holtzian, the man is a penith.


Filed under Big Ten Football

31 responses to “This time, Jim Delany really means it. Really.

  1. Alkaline

    On a slightly tangential topic, it sounds like one of the Pioneer Commissioner’s responsibilities is to collect annual fees from the conference members. (See I’m sure that’s something Delany could get behind.

  2. AthensHomerDawg

    ” I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university.”

    There are other records. You got 4 in the top 11.

  3. Man, that guy is a dick.

    • Cojones

      Can’t think of any otherperson who has been so bad for CFB (maybe Emmert-nah) and has been the object of great dislike for such a long time. Who in hell is he kidding?

      • Dog in Fla

        Insofar as Miss Popularity awards are concerned, Jim Delany is the Nick Saban of Commissars. Nick wins constantly. Jim whines constantly.

  4. Dog in Fla

    Delany in Deutsche in which Jim reprises the role of a Deputy Führer in “Das Boot”

    “It’s not that we want to go Division III”
    “Wir sind alle Ivy Leaguers”

    “Over my dead body”
    “Über meiner Leiche”

    “I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics.”

    “Ich liebe Geschwindigkeit und die SEC hat große Geschwindigkeit, besonders auf der Verteidigungslinie, aber es gibt passende Balancen, wenn man Akademiker und Leichtathletik mischt.”

    “The problem,” Delany interrupted, “is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902.”

    “Das Problem,” Delany unterbrach, “ist Ihr großes Stadium wegnimmt Gelegenheiten für meine Teams, auf dem Stadium zu spielen, das sie schufen im Jahre 1902. Rose Bowl über alles!”

    • Cojones

      “Das problem ist nicht fur dumkofs. Ist fur keepen ze mittens offen; keepen zem in das pockens, watchen ze spitzen und sparken und blinken lights….

  5. ASEF

    “is suddenly going to chuck all that to avoid sharing with student-athletes if that becomes the law of the land?”

    Serious question: what prevents DIII schools from marketing their sports? If ESPN went tomorrow to DIII and said, “We’d like to pay you collectively 6.8 billion for the rights to televise your games,” what would prevent it?

    Flip the question: if the B1G went DIII, how does that legally scuttle the B1G network? It might be a less attractive media property at that point, but that’s a business question, not a legal matter.

    • It “might” be a less attractive media property? Let’s put it this way – the Ivy League is pulling in a helluva lot less TV dough than the Big Ten is.

      I’m not arguing there’s a legal prohibition. But the value of those broadcast rights will be decimated five minutes after Delany formally renounces Satan.

      Not to mention that 100,000 people aren’t going to attend a game in Columbus, Ohio featuring 6′, slow white guys with good SAT scores.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        So, we agree that it’s not a legal risk. It’s a business risk.

        Would fans pay to see 6′ slow white guys with good SAT scores? I would if they were on both sides of the field. I don’t root for 4.3 speed or 42 inch verticals. I never have. That’s why I can’t get into the NFL. I can’t find anything to root for.

        But even at DIII, the big schools would have something to offer elite athletes: the coaching and training they need to make it to the NFL. If the really profitable schools like Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and schools like them (about 30 in all) move their product to DIII to avoid payroll, then they still represent the best path to an NFL career for most players. It absolutely comes down to the level of solidarity among the biggest programs. And in turn, that level of solidarity would depend on which value they held higher: competitive advantage or profitability.

        We know where Georgia sits on that one already, don’t we?

        • Honestly, I think you’re dreaming here.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            I am not advocating the feasibility of Delany’s position. I am pointing out that from his point of view, it’s probably does not look like a laughable bluff. I think he actually means it.

            • What makes this issue different from all the other times he’s bluffed?

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                When has he bluffed? You follow polltics – politicians are always staking out extreme positions in order to influence the relative position of compromise. Delany is no different. He’s CFB’s Dick Cheney. Both men have a remarkable capacity to stick to a talking point long past its empirical expiration date. And they get that capacity from the fact that they actually believe the nonsense they spew.

                • This is just semantics.

                  If you’d prefer, I’ll ask it this way: what makes you think he’ll stick to this talking point long past its empirical expiration date?

                  • Always Someone Else's Fault

                    A lot of people asked the same thing about Cheney and (pick your policy).

                    You think he’s posturing and that he doesn’t mean a word of it. I think he genuinely believes that if (X,Y,and Z) come to pass that he could reconfigure his conference under a DIII umbrella and retain both its marketing prowess and amateurism status.

                    Look at the basic structure of compensation in the NFL. You’ve got a cap, negotiated with a union; a draft, negotiated with a union; free agency, negotiated with a union; a thousand and one other details, negotiated with a union. A lot of people in academia see no middle ground possible between the current amateurism model and the pro sports model. Those models are difficult, complicated, and tenuous enough in situations where you have 30-odd owners on one side and a few hundred players on the other. The entities are in a constant state of litigation, some Cold Wat and some shooting war in nature. Imagine those issues tossed into a mosh pit of 300+ universities and 20,000 players. From some perspectives, that’s a potential reality worse than a DIII reconfiguration.

                    Delany simply cannot imagine a college sports world where he isn’t the one calling all the shots. I don’t think he personally would survive in one, and he knows it. Which is why I think he seriously thinks DIII would be preferable.

                    I don’t think he would be successful in his attempts, so it’s a mute point. I guess we agree to disagree on his intentions here but agree on the likely outcome one way or the other. But calling it a bluff – and all the other things he was wrong on bluffs – misses the potential point that he was just wrong and lost.

        • ” I would if they were on both sides of the field. I don’t root for 4.3 speed or 42 inch verticals. I never have.” Then you are an exception. Go to a high school football game. How many fans are there? How much are their TV rights worth? People can keep saying they root for the school and not the players, and some are 100% truthful with that statement, but there is a reason the SEC is what it is, and it’s not because of the names on the front of the jersey.

          • AthensHomerDawg

            I’ll bite…. ” there is a reason the SEC is what it is, and it’s not because of the names on the front of the jersey.”
            1.What names are on the front?
            2. Don’t tippy-toe? What is the reason the SEC is what it is? And be plain… we both know I’m not good at reading and comprehension. Help me out. I’m coachable.

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            Well then, let’s extend your logic. How do you explain the popularity of the college game given the presence of the NFL? Superior players and coaches. Why aren’t they still coining franchises and stealing college fans?

            Because college fans root for the name on the front of the jersey. I have never, ever rooted for a college because it had better players. I rooted for the team my pappy rooted for. Then I rooted for the team of the school that gave my degree. Not once did I consider rooting for Alabama because of all those superior athletes or trophies.

            • “How do you explain the popularity of the college game given the presence of the NFL?” People love football, a lot.

              “Why aren’t they still coining franchises and stealing college fans?” Because they learned there was diminishing returns on the growth.

              Do you root for and financially support the high school program you graduated from? If so, that’s great but you are rare. There is a reason these programs, and the SEC are making millions. It’s not because the fans love football that much, and it has something to do with the talent and product they put on the field.

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                Pappy didn’t root for a high school. Didn’t finish one for that matter, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t play football anyway. My high school team won the state championship, but I hated the teachers. It’s not an experience I wish to recreate. There’s a reason Hollywood loves to make movies about overcoming the lame high school experience. Because high school is lame.

                Again – if your premise is that the fans just follow the best football, then the NFL would be minting new franchises in Birmingham, Columbus, et al. Charlotte’s stadium doesn’t seat as many as some SEC venues, and Cam’s kinda fallen off the radar despite the fact his offense is tangibly 10x more talented than the one he ran at Auburn.

                Know how many Auburn fans I saw in Charlotte on Sundays last fall, reliving the glory? 0. Admittedly, I was only there twice and not for NFL reasons.

                Winners and losers definitely has an impact on profitability, but the DIII move, from Delany’s perspective, would basically be a choice between (A) competitiveness AND profitability or (B) competitiveness OR profitability.

                Whether you agree with him or not, we know which one he would choose. He ain’t bluffing.

                • And if your premise is that Georgia and the rest of the SEC would be filling their venues with students who could get into their schools, and not make special exceptions for kids because of their extraordinary athletic ability, then I’ve got some lovely beachfront property in Nebraska to sell you.

                  • Always Someone Else's Fault

                    Why do you think those exceptions would cease? If anything, the DIII model makes that sort of thing easier. For that matter, if SEC football requires the presence of “illiterate” uber-athletes on the field and “educated” people to stereotype them in the stands, why is the SEC raising their minimum academic thresholds?

                    • Nice use of extremes in the quotes to alter the position towards something never said or intended.

                    • Always Someone Else's Fault

                      Whether or not you intended it, you said it. Don’t blame me for working with the words you posted in the context you posted them.

                    • Where did I say “illiterate” vs. “educated”? Those are your words, not mine. They are extremist and nowhere close to “my words” or the context they were given.

                      My words, since you failed to pick up on them the first time, were that we make “special exceptions for kids because of their extraordinary athletic ability”. And we do, dozens of times a year. AJ Green, Kentavious Caldwell Pope,Aaron Murray and several others, are at Georgia because of how well they play their sports not because of their academics. Very, very few athletes would be at Georgia if not for their athletic talents. And if you think that’s not true, we can part ways disagreeing.

                    • Always Someone Else's Fault

                      Fine, I overstated your position. My apologies. You think that the popularity of SEC football is built on athletic exemptions for athletes who otherwise would never step foot on campus. Given that this happens at all other universities, your point seems questionable. Given that the cream of that crop ends up at the NFL, the fans you describe should be migrating to the NFL in droves – but they’re not, making your point again questionable.

                      Last question: how do you know Murray was granted an academic exemption? Since “very few athletes” would ever be accepted into Georgia without “exceptional athletic ability,” I ask you this: which ones? “Very few” should be easy to identify.

                      Or, is your position in fact based on a stereotype? Almost all studies indicate that high school student athletes achieve at a higher academic rate than non-athletes across the board. Is the ability to leap 44″ somehow mutually exclusive to the ability to draft an essay? Or does the ability to run a 4.2 somehow automatically trigger a cultural dynamic where the athlete becomes exempt from normal academic motivations?

                      Just curious. I haven’t run into these ideas in awhile. Maybe I’ve missed something new along these fronts.

                    • Or maybe you’re still making assumptive leaps that just aren’t there.

  6. Darrron Rovelll

    Check Staples twitter feed last night … everyone is crying doom and gloom – including the SEC.

    C’mon judge let’s call their bluff … they will not just walk away.

    Delaney is going to back to a D-3 model? One that is even more elitist and antiquated than the current D-1 model? Yeah I that is absolutely what they will do, because every other sports organization founded on the amateur model has stuck to that model when faced with market forces of professionalism. You know like the USTA, the USGA, the IOC, etc.

    They are on the wrong side of history and they know it. They are just trying to force a settlement and/or have their bluff called (maybe get a little help from legislators.)