Jim Delaney calls for conferences to work together

CHICAGO — A year after triggering a round of conference expansion that nearly eliminated the Big 12 Conference, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney on Wednesday called for the conferences to work together.

“We compete with the Big !2, the Pac-10 and SEC on the field,” Delaney said. “This is not a time for competition. This is a time for collaboration.”

During his annual address at Big Ten football media days, Delaney said that the current system at play within the NCAA, built in the 1950s, must be adapted and changed to fit in the 21st century.

“So that we’re going to be able to continue to put forward teams sponsored by institutions of higher education without being embarrassed by the actions that occur off the field, not on the field,” Delaney said.

Delaney is far from alone in wanting change. Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive proposed sweeping changes, most notably a 2.5 core GPA for all incoming freshmen, last week and Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford agreed it was time for change.

Delaney met with all 12 Big Ten head coaches on Wednesday to get their input and continue the process of figuring out where to go next.

Delaney, called the most powerful man in college athletics by many after successfully pulling Nebraska away from the Big 12 and to the Big Ten, said that he wants to remain a part of the NCAA — but that the governing body must allow for change.

A series of high-profile incidents at powerful schools like Southern California, Michigan, Auburn and Ohio State have forced many to evaluate the system — from admission standards and recruiting violations to increasing compensation for the student-athlete.

“I am open to providing scholarships up to the cost of education,” Delaney said. “I am not interested in scholarships beyond that. If you define pay-for-play as anything above the cost of education, we are not interested in discussing it.”

That Michigan went through problems with the NCAA and Ohio State remains in the thick of its own issues did not go unnoticed by Delaney (though it has been reported he urged the NCAA to allow Terrelle Pryor and other Buckeyes to play in the Sugar Bowl).

“Neither one of those institutions have a history of being in that situation,” Delaney said. “It not only has reflected poorly on them, its reflected poorly on us. I explained to each of those coaches that going forward we do not want two more such cases.”

Delaney was asked to speculate on what would happen if Ohio State was given a postseason ban by the NCAA but then earned a spot in the first Big Ten Championship Game. Delaney said it would be up the presidents and athletics directors, but that his sense was that the Buckeyes would not be allowed to play in that game.




One comment

  1. Could we please get Delany’s name right? D-E-L-A-N-Y. Where this “ey” comes from is beyond me. You guys should know better.

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