“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James Duderstadt, who was president at Michigan from 1988 to 1996, said he worried that the needs of the network had superseded the mission of higher education.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

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

  1. I wish they would spread that wealth to some of the law schools!
    “The average indebtedness figures for 2011 law graduates are stunning. Last year, 4 law schools had graduates with average debt exceeding $135,000. This year 17 law schools are above $135,000.”


    • stoopnagle

      The Law Schools are doing fine. It’s the folks paying for law school who are hurting. Seems like LS operate just like ADs.


    • Normaltown Mike

      In retrospect, law school was a total waste of money for me.

      I value the education, blah blah blah, but the foregone earnings for my 3 years plus the accumulated debts have not been recaptured by the “higher earnings” I expected post Juris Doctorate.

      Admittedly, part of this is because my choice in practice area, but it’s a bad deal for many and at present a really bad deal for most.


      • Could be worse… you could be a 50+ year old real estate developer with two sons with big dreams. 😉 My oldest starts med school in August. His adviser tried to talk him into grad school. My youngest a finance major is applying to law school. His pre law adviser tried to talk him into working for a few years and then apply to law. I hope he gets into Georgia.
        “Best Law Schools for Standard of Living (private practice):

        1 University of Texas
        2 University of Georgia
        3 Vanderbilt University
        4 University of Virginia
        5 Northwestern University
        6 University of Chicago
        7 University of North Carolina
        8 University of Michigan
        9 Washington University in St. Louis
        10 Duke University”


  2. stoopnagle

    #America #Freedom

    So, college athletics operates just like the rest of corporate America. Surprise!!!


  3. Normaltown Mike

    “But institutions are not winning and student-athletes get very little”

    This is patently false for the overwhelming majority of student athletes. Every girl playing a sport on a scholly is getting a discount on behalf of the Football program and to a lesser extent, B-ball.

    Yes, the elite football players are getting short changed, but they make up a small # of athletes.