Public Enemy #1: The case for Jim Delany

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Jim Delany doesn't like outsiders. This xenophobic side of Delany is somewhat puzzling given that Delany twice reached the Final Four while playing basketball for UNC in the 70s. Some of you may recall that the NCAA basketball tournament is a rather all-inclusive entity that exists to determine a true national champion by pitting sll qualifying teams against each other head to head. So why does Big Ten Eleven Twelve commissioner Jim Delany hate the thought of allowing non-AQ football conferences (the little guys) access to the BCS system and all it's spoils? SImple: Jim Delany is dumb. "Libel" only applies to print mediums, right? Right?

Just follow me—after the jump I'll explain my thesis.

When I think of Big Ten Eleven Twelve commissioner Jim Delany I think of the kid on the playground that decides to take his ball home when he doesn't get his way. Of course, Delany is used to getting his way...and his cash, so it's no real surprise that he doesn't want the new kids with the PF Flyers and strange accents to be a part of the game. The new kids are a threat to his place atop the kickball hierarchy...I mean, have you seen the size of these kids' quads? Slowly, however, the other players start to warm to the new kids, asking if they'll be on their team—no longer afraid of what a change at the top might entail. Delany and his cronies aren't pleased. "Look, you guys can play...but we get to pick the teams...oh, and you guys don't get a shortstop". The new kids comply, after all, they just want to play—but after tearing up the rest of the schoolyard there are no teams left to play save Delany's older, bigger team. "Best two out of three?" ask the new kids, "Naw", answers Delany "we don't need to prove anything to the likes of you...we've been the champs for a while now and that's not going to change". "But we'll play at your place...", plead the new kids, but Delany will have none of it—he reaches into his pocket and produces a fat billfold loaded with cash, produces a single dollar for the new kids and then tells them to "scram", then in a huff and a "c'mon, fellas", takes his ball and heads home.

So I ask you...who was the bully in this metaphorical schoolyard? The new kids, sans shortstop who dominated the schoolyard, or Delany, who set the rules, gave the new kids a buck then bolted with his big red ball? Delany would have you believe that the new kids are the bullies, taking his hard earned dollar and still expecting a game with the champs. Basic reason and logic suggest something else:

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At the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in December, Delany threw a fit when pressed (by WAC commish Karl Benson, among others) on why non-AQ conferences can't get a little extra access and dough. Delany quipped:

"We gave up the Rose Bowl, the SEC gave up access to the Sugar Bowl, others were included but they never had access to any of this before. You have to understand who brought what to the table. Who's continuing to give and who's continuing to get."


May I respond, oh grand poobah of the BCS conferences? Firstly, the Big Ten Eleven Twelve didn't "give up" the Rose Bowl...they allowed for a very specific set of circumstances that would grant access to a qualifying team outside the Pac-Ten or Big-whatever. As luck would have it, the Pac-Ten champ was unable to fill their spot in the Rose Bowl as they were too busy playing in the BCS championship, so TCU, in essence "backed in" to the bowl against...wait for it...a Big Ten Eleven Twelve team (Wisconsin), who might I add, was defeated. Wisconsin's take from the Rose Bowl? $18 million. TCU's? Less than $4 million (shared, in part, with other MWC members). And as for the SEC "giving up" the Sugar Bowl? Wrong again...the last non-AQ to play in the Sugar played against an SEC team, and again, only after a fortuitous set of circumstances allowed them access. That team, Hawaii, "raked in" about $4 million—all but evaporated after expenses and their WAC divvy—and the victorious Georgia squad pocketed around $17 million.

Secondly, understanding "who brought what to the table" is a bit confounding as well. In the case of Utah, Boise State and TCU—all two-time BCS party-crashers, the squads brought good football to the table...evidenced by their 4-0 records against their AQ-conference bowl foes. All teams also brought a crapload of fans "to the table" to watch their teams secure victories. What they got? A little bit of glory, but a pittance for compensation. So who is "continuing to give and who's continuing to get"? You tell me. The five non-AQ conferences split $24 million amongst themselves last year from the BCS. The Big Ten Eleven Twelve and SEC got $22.2 million...each. THE BCS CONFERENCES ARE STARVING BECAUSE ALL THESE PEASANTS DO IS TAKE, TAKE, TAKE!

WAC commissioner Karl Benson almost got a word in edgewise at the IMG event, too...but was slienced by Delany's E.F. Hutton-esque voice:

"The BCS has provided greater access," Benson said. "Look at 120 schools, 11 conferences and to establish opportunities for those student-athletes. To play on the big stage, we've been to the big stage. ...

"The problem," Delany interrupted, "is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902."


The BCS, for the record, was formed in 1998 and I'd be willing to wager good money that a large number of current BCS-conference teams did not even exist in 1902. Good money.

I think we've seen enough here, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. Jim Delany is a money-grubbing tool who only seeks to protect his own pocketbook...but that ball metaphor? That was simply rhetorical.

"You can discuss it until the cows come home," said Delany, "the only way the system works is if everyone is willing to play the game. It doesn't work if I take my ball and go home."


Oh...wait.

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