OT thought: Jim Delany, NCAA Commish?

Submitted by ScruffyTheJanitor on July 25th, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Just to be clear- this is NOT a rumor.

But, with Jim Delany's comments at the Big Ten Media days and carnival, doesn't it seem like he's making a subtle move to become NCAA commish when Mark Emmert's reckoning finally comes (albeit in the form of a contract buy out or something).



Delany's four-point plan came in advance of any comments he made about NCAA president Mark Emmert, who has been criticized by his colleagues in other conferences over the past two weeks...

"There's been a lot said about Mark Emmert," Delany said. "My view is Mark has done some good things and Mark has made some mistakes. Let me tell you this: Running the NCAA is real challenging.

"Most of the problems we see today preceded Mark Emmert, so the fundamental challenges to institutions and conferences and the NCAA were here before Mark Emmert walked in the door."

Delany also touched on the NCAA's scrutinized enforcement group, telling ESPN.com that the group has been "a lightning rod within a lightning rod." As a former NCAA investigator, he plans to study the situation further and provide some suggestions going forward.

"I would like to see the people who make the mistakes pay the price and see the institution pay a lesser price," Delany said. "I would like to see it clearer when an institution is in jeopardy on institutional control that that's reserved for the worst of the worst. And I want to make sure if you make a mistake, there's a process. ... We should be able to communicate better which are the major [infractions] and which are the not so major ones."



The man does have a pretty good resume, what with the Big Ten Network's success, instant replay, and being the major force behind conference expansion. Of course, that latter point might be his biggest mark against him, too. I am not sure there is anyone more qualified-- which



July 25th, 2013 at 12:15 PM ^

Point 1: An educational trust

Delany would like to see schools commit to allowing athletes to return to school after their playing days if they did not finish their bachelor's degree. If an athlete chooses to do so, the school would pick up the tab for the rest of that player's education.

"What I would like to see is explicit commitment by higher education through conferences for funding, that if you come up short in your four years, whether you turn professional or drop out, we'll stand behind you," Delany said. "When you're ready to get serious, when you're ready to have the time, we'll support your college education to get your degree for your lifetime."

Not really sure I agree with this, and it is just my opinion. But if an athlete chooses to leave school to go professional, then he likely is pretty good. And pro athletes, even if undrafted, get a good minimal salary of several hundred thousand dollars. Why should taxpayers pay for someone to come back to school, when it was their choice to leave? With their signing bonuses and hefty minimum salary, I'm sure they could pay to complete the 1-2 years they skipped out on. Perhaps I'm not seeing something here, but it just doesn't add up for me.


July 25th, 2013 at 1:00 PM ^

I don't think the taxpayers would be left holding the bag. It would make much more sense to me to allow profitable sports programs to offer this service as that would mean the student is essentially paying for their own education by playing at the University. This would also be nice as it would create a de-facto 4 year scholarship at all Universities. Bama can't kill a guys future plans simply becuase he tears his ACL and never performs at the level expected again. 


July 25th, 2013 at 1:45 PM ^

While the "cost of education" is high on paper, it doesn't actually cost the University much to allow one more person into school.  It doesn't cost more until they have to add profs and classes.  

In fact, if returning athletes got "free tuition," but bought books and bought food at the cafeteria, the school would actually make money on them, as long as there were no additional classes to compensate for them being there.


July 25th, 2013 at 12:19 PM ^

to keep Pryor and the others eligible for the Sugar Bowl that they never should have played in.

Didn't he help them invoke some arcane rule to do so? 

(somebody with a better memory, please help me here)


Why would he help a thoroughly corrupt program in Ohio?  He lived there for at least ten years. (as commissioner of the Ohio Valley conference)

Happy Gilmore

July 25th, 2013 at 12:59 PM ^

His job as big ten commish, it seems to me, is to do what is in the best interest of the big ten as a conference. Laying the hammer on one of the top conference programs, or holding out the best players from a team out of an inter-conference matchup, is not doing so.

It's like a defense attorney evoking any means necessary to acquit their client, then that DA becoming a judge where the role kind of reverses.


July 25th, 2013 at 3:35 PM ^

The office of the commissioner of athletics was created in 1922 "to ....assist in enforcing the eligibility rules which govern Big Ten athletics."

His job is not to support the B1G team, regardless of the circumstance.

Ultimately, he helped bring shame to the conference by doing nothing and having a B1G team's Sugar Bowl record expunged.

If all he cares about is winning and money, he should change his name to Urban Meyer.


French West Indian

July 25th, 2013 at 12:53 PM ^

With the B1G, he has an ironclad lock on one of the largest and most secure realms of the college football/sporting landscape—including the B1G Network as a very productive asset—which allows him siginificant leverage on the national stage.  If he were to take an NCAA job (even the top job) then he'd be nothing but a bureaucrat with little muscle to affect any change.

College sports are not hierarchical.  The power lies with the geographic fiefdoms on the conferences not the NCAA itself, which is little more than a peace treaty amongst the conferences to keep things civil.


July 25th, 2013 at 1:37 PM ^

Agreed. B1G commish to NCAA commish is not a step up. A more logical move for Delaney would be to become commissioner of a pro sports league or other commercial sports venue. The Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott was CEO of the Women's Tennis Association before he joined the Pac-12. No reason why someone like Delaney wouldn't go the other way.

Having said that, pro sports leagues like to hire leaders who will be there for the long haul. Delany is pushing 64 and doesn't have many long-haul years left in him. My guess is that we'll have to put up with him until he retires.  

Ben from SF

July 25th, 2013 at 1:54 PM ^

...Remember when Hank Paulson became the Sec of Treasury???

As illustrated by how Delany handled the "Tattoo-Gate" and "Sandusky vs young males of PA" incidents, Jim's decision making is governed by three tenants.

- Bigger is better

- Too big to fail

- Size trumps doubts

If Delany gets the NCAA job, look for the following.

- Reduction of bowl / playoff systems (Bye bye Boise State / Northern Illinois)

- Further de-emphasis of NCAA investigation and enforcement divisions

- Emphasis on Athletic Departments over Individual Athletes (The Gene Smiths and the Tressels will get the benefit of the doubt)

I think Louis Freeh should be the next NCAA chief, and he should hire Dave Brandon to run the revenue generation arm.


July 25th, 2013 at 5:07 PM ^

The President of the NCAA (currently Mark Emmert) wields only a tiny amount of real power, and that power is only exercised at the discretion of the Executive Committee.  He has no say on actual policy other than through his power to persuade, and Mr. Delaney already has plenty of that as a commissioner of one of the "Big Five" conferences.

The office of President of the NCAA would probably more accurately be titled as "NCAA Chief Spokesman."  The purpose of the NCAA President is not to wield power, but to draw attention away from it.