Jim Delany threatens to take Big Ten to D-III

March 19, 2013 – 12:53 am by Hickey


In one of the most amusing bluffs in the history of anything, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany says his league will go to Division III before it pays one of its athletes a dime.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Delany claimed that is the route the conference will take if the NCAA loses its court case against former UCLA standout Ed O’Bannon. The O’Bannon case would force the NCAA to share a portion of its television revenues with the athletes who are actually being televised.

Instead of sharing a pot that will grow even larger with the nonsensical (in a geographic sense) additions of Maryland and Rutgers to his league, Delany postulated that the entire league will go the route of Big Ten founding member University of Chicago:

“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. 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.”

I’ve previously compared Delany to the robber barons, but now his logic is sounding more like that of a plantation owner. The South’s argument against abolition before and during the Civil War was that actually having to pay those people would leave the region economically crippled. Delany’s argument is essentially the same — why, we provide these boys with food and shelter, why should we have to pay them? Paying them will cripple our entire model of existence! Keep your hands off us, Feds!
At the end of the day, I suspect if the O’Bannon ruling goes in favor of paying athletes, it will also result in secession — though far from Delany’s vision that the Big Ten and Pioneer League would suddenly be rivals. The biggest conferences with the biggest TV contracts will splinter off from the NCAA, creating a four megaconference football world where no little schools are invited to hang.
And at the end of the day, you can’t help but wonder if that’s what the Delany’s of the world want in the first place.
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  1. One Response to “Jim Delany threatens to take Big Ten to D-III”

  2. “But these athletes already get paid full-ride scholarships! What more money do they actually need?!?!?!?”

    I don’t actually believe this; there’s nothing wrong with providing the athletes with a stipend for living expenses and such. Gas and food are expensive, man.

    By MJenks on Mar 19, 2013

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