Playing the long game

As yesterday’s statement from the Big Ten indicates, I think it’s slowly dawning on college presidents that O’Bannon is turning into a losing proposition for them.  Now even if they lose the trial, the walls don’t start falling down around their ears immediately.  There’s an appeal process that they’ll likely milk for all it’s worth if for no other reason than that every day the inevitable is postponed is another day they don’t have to share the loot with anyone else.  But that won’t last forever.  Plus, there’s the concerns raised by the unionization effort at Northwestern and other litigation threats.  All it takes is losing once.

At some point, then, it’ll be time to turn to the last refuge – politics.  And don’t think that’s not already on their minds.

Did the reform movement arrive too late? Delany doesn’t think so. “Are you kidding me? This will be with us for a decade,” he said. “Between the reform, the restructuring, the litigation, congressional activity. This is the beginning. Not the end.”

A sentiment echoed by one of his bosses:

“A lot of water has got to go under the bridge before we’d have serious conversations about doing that,” Kaler said. “There’s a whole long list of possibilities that are out there. … A lot of people think this will go to the Supreme Court and maybe even Congress. There’s a lot of water to move.”

These guys, as much as they may protest to the contrary, ain’t going the Division III route.  There’s simply too much money involved for them to walk away from it.  They will run to the feds instead, to try to hold on to what they’ve got.  And, yes, the irony of Jim Delany asking people like Joe Barton and Orrin Hatch for assistance isn’t lost on me.  (And probably won’t be lost on them, either.)

Here’s the thing, though – who’s to say they’re any good at lobbying?  Delany can be Delany when it comes to bullying mid-major conferences who want him to throw them a bone, but how does that work when he’s the one who comes asking for a favor?  Will the presidents he speaks for be willing to do any serious horse trading for an antitrust exemption, or will they continue to operate with the same combination of arrogance and myopia that’s gotten them into the mess they’re trying to extricate themselves from?

And, maybe more importantly, should they even assume Congress is of a mind to help?


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

12 responses to “Playing the long game

  1. I’m sure Delany can find some willing campaign contribution recipients allies in Congress, but this seems like one of those issues tailor-made to break along party lines and end up going nowhere.

    • Monday Night Frotteur

      Yep, and the schools and conferences have already hurt their position by hiring GOP-heavy lobby shops. At the macro level, this issue already plays as “keep the money flowing to the (mostly) white administrators in suits, keep the money away from the (mostly) black talent.” Exacerbating that exceptionally short sighted, unless the member-schools and conferences truly believe Republicans are going to soon receive a broad national mandate.

      IOW, the Senator’s instincts appear to be good. These guys aren’t any good at lobbying, either.

  2. Less NCAA trial, more DAWGS please.

    • I take it you didn’t get my earlier message.

      • I Wanna Red Cup

        Keep up the good work Senator. You do a great job and all appreciate it. I personnaly would not change a thing.

      • That Guy who comes to the party but you don't really know

        Nice place you got here. Now shut up and get me a beer.

    • Macallanlover

      Tough line to draw since the lawyers/unions’ push is a major part of the Dawgs’ future. Hard to discuss the Dawgs without a conversation including the legal shenanigans when our continued enjoyment of them is in jeopardy.

      • Dog in Fla

        “the lawyers/unions’ push…the legal shenanigans…continued enjoyment… jeopardy”

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, why is Management always the victim?

        • You know I met Management once.. After introductions we sat down and had dinner. The steaks were suppose to be dry aged but I could tell immediately they were wet aged. As everyone was bragging on their steak choices I did not have the heart to share my expertise and good taste with them. Nice people actually. Invited me to a poker game. There was something off about that game. I always felt they had something up their sleeves. Of course I won all the hands as I am an expert poker player. I felt bad about taking all their money … but they could afford it. They never saw me coming. 😉

          • Dog in Fla

            That’s an excellent dinner-time story because

            • I met Saruman once during half time at one of the games. I was the guest of one of my clients in his suite. Food was ok. Proof of the pudding did the catering. I enjoyed talking with him. He had a terrible habit of staring. Kind of off putting actually. We discovered we had similar interests in sports cars and were going to examine some of his best restoration efforts but never did. He went home to attend to an emergency and I never heard back from him. Poor form.😉

              • Dog in Fla

                “He had a terrible habit of staring.”

                No kidding. It’s even more off putting when they point and stare at the Weber-branded Solex carbs they got from Weber Direct when they thought they were getting bona fide original Webers.