Jim Delany, Man On Top Of Oil Comment Count

Brian March 5th, 2019 at 11:02 AM

Jim Delany's retiring in 2020, spurring the usual round of kow-towing to a rich guy who was just in charge of things. Since Delany didn't do anything good, these pieces have to talk about how important he is. And when people talk about Jim Delany as a "transformative" or "influential" figure, this is what they're talking about:




Ah, crap. That's not the right graph. This is the right graph.


Maybe this one?


Sorry, sorry, all these graphs look exactly the same, they're hard to pick apart.


Netflix, fractioning audiences, sports is the only live thing a lot of people, etc. Crediting Jim Delany for the Big Ten's revenue surge is crediting Saudi Arabia for being on top of a lot of oil. Delany didn't create the Michigan and Ohio State fanbases. He just exploited them.

And exploit he did, as anyone who's been to a football game in the past decade can attest to. The increase in revenue came with a commensurate increase in commercial time, to the point where there were several stretches in Michigan games where there were more commercials than plays over the course of an entire quarter. Adding injury to injury, one of those games was against Rutgers, and another was against Maryland.

Delany's never-ending quest for revenue made every Big Ten fan's experience worse, and the money then went to everyone except the people actually earning it. While Delany was ruthlessly strip-mining every dollar out of my fandom and yours he was simultaneously asserting that if the courts gave players even a tiny slice of the increased revenue that the Big Ten would drop to DIII, a level that has no scholarships, out of pure spite.

That's who Delany is.

He did indeed sit in one of the most powerful chairs in college athletics for 31 years. He used that perch to reinforce the con of amateurism for his personal benefit. He regularly issued ludicrous proclamations. He spearheaded the Big Ten's fart-sniffing "Legends" and "Leaders" divisions. He added Maryland, an athletic department so out of control it killed one of its football players out of pure negligence, and Rutgers, an athletic department that finishes at the bottom of the standings in almost literally every sport it competes in annually. He did this so he and people like him could have more money. He happily takes personal credit for industry-wide trends.

Whoever replaces him probably won't be any better or braver. But they could hardly be worse.



March 6th, 2019 at 11:11 AM ^

The fact that a collection of words is difficult to interpret doesn't necessarily mean they're profound. It frequently means that the author values vague, pompous argle-bargle over clarity.

Also, Bill Hicks is one of the most overrated comedians in history.

SirJack II

March 5th, 2019 at 12:10 PM ^

A monetary code: Isn't that the designation for a country's currency (e.g., USD for the US dollar)? Or do you mean that this "app" is the use of money in general? And what do you mean by selectable relationship? Like, what would it mean to generate a "selectable relationship in-&-across" something, and why see it as a negative that a monetary system doesn't do so? 

I don't understand your exhibits either. 

How does the monetary system lack the things you say it lacks: reach, speed accuracy, etc. (I translated your text here into a written English style). How is it used to throttle creativity? Doesn't power produce?



March 5th, 2019 at 9:27 PM ^

I told you, we're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as sort of executive officer for the week...

.but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting...

...by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs...

...but by a two thirds majority in the case of more...

Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system!


March 5th, 2019 at 11:58 AM ^

We set up a system where those in control are rewarded publicly and financially for exploiting the adoration everyone else has for a game they happen to be in charge of. And that system is sports - college, professional, amateur, in America and the rest of the world.

M Go Cue

March 5th, 2019 at 12:08 PM ^

I don’t have this hatred towards Delaney.  He made the conference members a lot of money, which is not a bad thing.  He brought in replay, the BTN, and protected the Rose Bowl.  Yeah he did some stuff none of us liked, but we were never going to be able keep things the way they were years ago. 

I suspect a lot of the anger directed toward the commissioner would be lessened if our football team had performed better over the last 15 years.  I’ve never been bothered by too many commercials when we are winning.


March 5th, 2019 at 12:13 PM ^

The rising payments to the conference had nothing to do with Delaney, which is the point of the graphs and fairly self-evident. 

The others are a fairly short list of major accomplishments over 31 years, all of which could have just as easily been decided by a reading-level 12 year old. 


March 5th, 2019 at 12:55 PM ^

I'm saying the accomplishments you listed could have been done by anyone, and I believe that. 

The Big East was trash except for a few brand/blueblood schools, which were scooped up by other conferences.  The Big 12 nearly collapsed because its name brand schools almost defected. 

That all reinforces the overall point: rich white guy stands on pile of money generated by fan devotion to blueblood schools (none of which was generated by rich white guy), exploits that cash pile, and as it grows (and to be clear, the growth also has nothing to do with rich white guy) he sihpons off that growth for people like himself, while - fairly ridiculously - demonizing the sharing of it with the people who are generating it.  Masterbates to himself. 

Let Dave Resvine take his turn tugging on Delaney's cock, he has to.  You don't. 


March 5th, 2019 at 2:16 PM ^

Fair enough.  These are derisive terms meant to highlight 1) a privileged class (though I loathe how the term is used in many instances here it seems correct*) - already benefiting from a national/historical/institutional system - sitting atop this pyramid, which for me makes it even more perverse, and 2) the fawning over this person who's done nothing, which is an extra extra helping of more perverse. 

*I love white people, am white people, wyppl 4ever; but it does not diminish white people to recognize that others have it more difficult, i.e., it does not mean you did not work very hard for everything you have. 


March 5th, 2019 at 1:16 PM ^

This is a ridiculous argument.  The Big East folded because it turned it's back on being a basketball conference to greedily chase football dollars.  The ACC's struggles are steeped in much the same problem.  The Big 12 is a hybrid conference that never had any core history to bind it together, and that has fostered it's relentless disintegration and reconstitution.

Delaney took over arguably the strongest, most prestigious, most historical, and most athletically diverse conference in the country and kept treading water.  All he did was take a profitable enterprise and do anything to make sure it became more profitable.  Not more enjoyable, not more prestigious, not more durable, just more profitable.  Any college graduate with half a brain and a marketing degree could've done the same.  Delaney's legacy will belie a lack of an overarching vision in favor of just making more money.

Jim Delaney will leave the Big Ten a wealthier conference, but not a better conference.

He can go fuck himself.  Good riddance.


March 5th, 2019 at 12:16 PM ^

The point is anyone in charge would have accomplished the same revenue increases. 

Perhaps they would have done so without the short-term cash grab (and future anchor) additions of Maryland and Rutgers. Or without overseeing the transformation of the B1G from holier-than-thou academic powerhouse to industry leader in large scale institutional misconduct. 


March 5th, 2019 at 12:49 PM ^

I would not have had this hatred toward Delany if not for Rutgers and Maryland.

Up til then I was like "ok, he's done some crappy stuff and some good stuff, BTN is pretty sweet and I like Nebraska.

Now I hate him because there are two goddamn East Coast teams with terrible fanbases and incompetent administrations and (with the exception of a very small handful of Maryland sports) lousy-performing teams in a Midwest conference.

Robbie Moore

March 5th, 2019 at 12:35 PM ^

The only people who will be sad to see Delany go will be athletic department administrators, TV execs and coaches. The bloat and overpayed bureaucrats in any major college athletic department is scandalous. Coaches? Seven fucking figures for multiple football coaching staff members? And TV execs? They are the least objectionable because they make no pretense about who they are. 



March 5th, 2019 at 12:36 PM ^

Question...do we hold Delany accountable for the fact that the B1G doesn't win NCs anymore? 


In the 20 years from from 1960-1979 schools from the Midwest won 12 NCs compared schools from the South who won 13.  Compare that to the past 18 years from 2000 - 2018 where schools from the Midwest won 2 NCs (both OSU) compared to schools from the South won 16. 


He must have something to do with the fact that OSU is the only school north of the Mason-Dixon line to win a NC in the last 22 years.

CRISPed in the DIAG

March 5th, 2019 at 5:18 PM ^

Good points. Otherwise, no, I don't see B1G schools (outside OSU and that's probably on a different scale) engaging in shenanigans like the SEC does. Once Bama emerged as a death star 10 years ago, they forced other SEC schools to get dirtier. Mark Richt was essentially fired for "not doing what it takes to win". Auburn regularly churns out HC's who couldn't win. IMHO, it's the boosters who get pissed when their bags of cash don't produce wins. In turn, they exert pressure on the AD to fire the HC. And so it goes. 

Population shifts southward in the last 30 years plays a part. Kids who grew up wanting to be a Big Red or Nittany Lion were more common in those areas in the 70's and 80's. Now the same sort of kid increasingly wants to move south - as does much of the general population. So even if we assume that kids get paid in the B1G, they can probably get paid in the SEC and enjoy better weather without worrying about academics. 


March 5th, 2019 at 9:39 PM ^


Once Bama emerged as a death star 10 years ago, they forced other SEC schools to get dirtier.

If in fact Saban has a structured payment system in place like some think, the spread of his assistants across the SEC (Smart @ UGA, Pruitt @ UT, Fisher @ A&M) is likely spreading the use of that system.

Population shifts southward in the last 30 years plays a part

I think that's a good point.  But, so much so that only OSU can compete and the other midwest teams can't?

So even if we assume that kids get paid in the B1G, they can probably get paid in the SEC and enjoy better weather without worrying about academics. 

I get that, but it's not like weather just started getting nice in the 2000s.  I mean weather has always been better in the south, assuming you can put up with the humidity and heat in the summer.  Why did the country all of a sudden decide weather was important?  Did people not care about nice weather in the 70s, 80s, and 90s?  There must be some more economic or cultural things going on, right?  I'm sure the American car market in Michigan didn't help and the housing bubble in MI and OH in the late 2000s didn't either.  


March 5th, 2019 at 12:42 PM ^

If I could give him the slightest credit, he did get BTN up far before anyone else and I think it remains the most prominent of any of the other conference leagues. That has to be a big revenue generator right? Plus, it may be a recruiting bump for the Big Ten now that many more games are all reasonably-basic cable. Heck, I think the ACC and Pac 12 are just now (in 2019) getting their TV channels off and going when BTN fired up back in 2007


March 5th, 2019 at 1:24 PM ^

Well, the Notre Dame deal with NBC dates back to the 1990s, so Delaney didn't exactly have to be a visionary to see where things were headed.  Granted, he at least acted before other conference commissioners, and the B1G also was able to get its network included in some basic cable packages.  On the other hand, once Delaney secured this earlier revenue stream, what great things has the conference accomplished with the money?  Is the B1G at the forefront in the way it manages or operates any aspect of its day-to-day "business" of college sports?


March 5th, 2019 at 2:19 PM ^

I'd counter that he basically copied the same model as the NFL and NBA channels, which were in existence by then.  And the BTN mostly came about because (a) Delaney had wanted a more favorable contract with ESPN and they had balked, and (b) Fox Sports wanted to get more into college athletics and helped drive its creation.  I guess we give him some credit for that, but had someone else been in control at that point when the contracts had expired and wanted more money I'm sure he or she would have pushed for the same thing.  

Delaney read the tea leaves, saw other (professional) leagues do the same + Notre Dame have an exclusive deal with NBC, and took the next logical step.  I guess give him some credit for that, but one semi-novel idea over 30 years seems like a broken clock being correct twice a day type of thing.