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.