Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is one of the most vocal leaders in college athletics. Whether its pastry shop cupcake games on Big Ten football non-conference schedules or expansion, Delany's not afraid to find a reporter and give us his unvarnished opinions. Delany is old blood among athletic directors. He also took a hard line stance against the concepts of a playoff for college football. However, nothing appears to rile him up more than the prospect of pay-for-play. In August, Delany threw out the possibility of a nuclear option involving the Big Ten dropping to Division III status if the Ed O'Bannon suit ruling forced athletic dto share their revenue from television contracts with student-athletes.
Hopefully, nobody told him that D-III college football has a 32-team playoff. He's the cut off his nose to spite his face type. On Wednesday, Delany basically told student-athletes who are interested in profiting off of their own names that they can beat it.
"Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks," Delany said. "If they're not comfortable and want to monetize, let the minor leagues flourish. Train at IMG, get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness and establish it on your own. But don't come here and say, 'We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000.' Go to the D-League and get it, go to the NBA and get it, go to the NFL and get it. Don't ask us what we've been doing.
"If an athlete wants to professionalize themselves, professionalize themselves. We've been training kids for professional sports. I argue it's the color, I argue it's the institution. If you think it's about you, then talk to John Havlicek about that, you've got to talk to Michael Jordan about that. These brands have been built over 100 years."
This still misses the bigger point. Colleges don't have to pay student-athletes. Keep your dollars. Just grant them the basic rights to profit off of their own marketability.