Posted September 26, 2013

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany: Let players bypass college

NCAAF
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany isn't ready to reduce Penn State's sanctions. (Photo by Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

Jim Delany says players should be allowed to sign professional deals out of high school. (Jason Szenes/Getty Images)

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says that Division I college football and basketball would be better served if they followed Major League Baseball’s model, which allows players to sign professionally right out of high school.

Delany says a restructuring plan in college sports must be in place by next year to create a better balance educationally. He also said that the major colleges need the “legislative autonomy” to push through some major changes.

“Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks,” Delany said, via ESPN.com. “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.

ELLIS: D-I athletic directors slam ‘pay-for-play’ support

“If an athlete wants to professionalize themselves, professionalize themselves. We’ve been training kids for professional sports,” Delany said.


99 comments
Michael7843853
Michael7843853

Delaney should be fired immediately. What a sell out.

Michael7843853
Michael7843853

How about seniors in high school? They say Lebron could have played in 8th grade... 

torsby13
torsby13

He is absolutely right.  It is the only way to fix the system.  It is fair to everybody.  Players who want money and / or nothing to do with school have an option.  Those that want to get an education can still go to school.  College sports will come down a notch or two, but, the real fans of amateur sports will still watch.  The NFL and the NBA will need to pony up for the minor league system, but nobody should feel sorry for them.  The biggest losers in this?  Non-revenue sports will likely be cut at universities as the revenue product will be diminished.  As much as I enjoy some of those sports, they have been living on borrowed time.

BigBubba
BigBubba

What a joke!  If Delany is not the individual most responsible for the huge money influx into collegiate sports, I don't know who is.  To leverage network coverage, to entice schools to change alignment (Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland) to chase the almighty $$, to then have scheduled games at times that cannot be good for the 'student-athlete' who he waxes on about...


He is a total hypocrite and should have no problem with the players wanting a piece of the action.  If Michigan can charge seat licenses for the revenue producing sports (football, bball, hockey), then obnoxiously sell their tickets according to "dynamic pricing"--i.e. based on the market value of the ticket--why should the M players not feel like they are being exploited, scholarship or not?  Same with most of the B10 schools.  It is a scam, and I think that college sports have totally lost their way, thanks in large part to Delany and his methods.  Some in the B10 may laud his "vision", but I decry his path as putting the dollar above the amateur student-athlete.

David5
David5

Simply set educational standards, require they be fully met, provide tutors where appropriate and maintain your status as an educational institution, which very few, "colleges," now do.

Then eliminate any courses with little or no (higher) educational merit or which practical institutes can better provide, provide facilities and insurance for any students still wishing to participate in interschool sports, and let the student-athletes (not student/athletes) progress as they will.

It would be easy and straightforward to, "clean up," the NCAA, except, of course, that the people that run the NCAA do not want to give up the massive perks that go with the, "professional," tie-ins.

All the networks would have no choice but to run the games the student-athletes play, or go out of existence, but there would be much less money skewing the system.

Do not, however, hold your breath.


IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

What he says makes sense.  If you want paid and aren't interested in the education that universities offer as compensation, look to the pro leagues to develop a system that suits your goals.  The NFL and NBA have had a free farm system for way too long.  It once was a benefit to the universities to monopolize the space; but those benefits are shrinking and the system is problematic.  The baseball process, on the other hand has worked quite nicely.  It has been relatively free of major scandal, at least compared to other sports an it allows the athlete to choose between cash or an education.

Bureaucratic_inertia
Bureaucratic_inertia

I realize that College players could be paid more, but at the same time don't act like you couldn't go out and get a loan like the rest of the people. 

PatrickKelley
PatrickKelley

Delaney can't separate basketball and football from other athletic teams because there will be hordes of law suites, especially from women's athletes. What Delaney is attempting to avoid is the problem with ESPN vs NCAA. Presently, ESPN is making a windfall in profits by exploiting the archaic NCAA student/athlete system that has been in place for more than a century. Coaches are making a fortune. Universities are making money from ESPN, SI, NBC, ABC, and merchandising. The athletes are getting prostituted and abused by the boosters and ESPN. 

The solution is easy but difficult to swallow  for many boosters. First, each Div I school decide to join a professional league or stay amateur. Second, The Academic Pro league will leave the NCAA and form conferences based on location. Third, Those schools that decide to remain amateur will stay in the NCAA which will restructure the conferences. Fourth, Those schools that decide to go pro will pay their athletes (All athletes from football to soccer to wrestling). Those schools that remain amateur will use any proceeds from merchandising to tv rights go to scholarships for deserving students. 

Ohio State and Michigan may decide to go Academic Pro but Northwestern may decide to go Academic Amateur and join the Ivy League. Alabama and Georgia may decide to go Academic Pro but Vanderbilt may decide to go academic amateur and join the ivy league or similar conference. 

Academic amateur and academic pro athletes will both be included in the pro draft. 


ianlinross
ianlinross

In Canada, if you want to be a professional hockey player you join the major junior leagues as a teenager and enter the NHL draft. Education isn't a priority if you don't want it. You can just train to be a hockey player.

Why Americans make high school football and basketball players -- who aren't great students -- go through the charade of attending university is beyond me. Why is there not an alternative system? Why do should college players be penalized and criticized for cutting classes or taking bird courses if they don't have the interest or inclination to get a college education? Isn't it all about self-determination and being responsible for personal choices?

The greed of the NCAA assures us that there is only one avenue; an outdated system staffed by bloated fat cats that keep student-athletes poor and shackled with restrictions, and is as adverse to change and evolution as the Vatican. 

I'm hoping some NFL teams have the foresight someday to end run the NCAA and set up their own development league for high school prospects, and yes, pay the players. 

2001mark
2001mark

High school graduates running around in the NFL?  I'll pass.  Unless the NFL pulls the trigger on its 18games/16max to play plan.

TrentFlubbs
TrentFlubbs

Do you morons actually think states in the Southeastern conference are going to allow players to unionize and hold their football programs hostage? LMFAO keep dreaming.


FWIW I agree completely with the Big Ten Commish

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

The NFL sure gets a lot of taxpayer supported welfare: stadiums thrown at them, a farm system for which they pay nothing. Wonder if they could survive without all these subsidies.

ammon44
ammon44

College athletes need to form a union and demand health care, disability coverage and better working conditions.  They also should threaten a work stoppage if the NCAA continues to refuse to give them a cut of the profits.  The best time to do it would be right before the bowl games.  I know anyone older than 50 is going to hate this comment but the reality is there is no way that a college coach should be paid 5 MILLION! a year and a player only gets his scholarship (notice I said his) which is worth maybe 30,000 a year. I would like to see the NCAA split the profits with college athletes and allow them all to get paid for appearances, autographs and a percentage of their own jersey sales.  This idiot commissioner get's paid 2million a year to keep the status quo in place.  

biasedsportsfan
biasedsportsfan

What Jim Delaney is very subtly saying in way too many words, is "Screw those kids, they can figure it out on their own if they think they're getting any cut of our profits." This is the same guy, after all, who suggested that the Big Ten+ would go back to Division III rather than ever pay student athletes.

rkcla08
rkcla08

or, the alternative is to have the pro sports leagues pay for the scholarships, medical and the stipends.  plus, for those leaving college early to join the ranks of the pro's the team that drafts the player would pay the university a percentage of the contract.

reality check:  it is not up to the taxpayers to foot the bill to feed sports leagues, essentially those organizations that are free of anti-trust laws with owners rolling in cash through a closed membership fraternity. 

ammon44
ammon44

This is simple economics people.  30 years ago college football was slightly profitable and a players scholarship was a reasonable pay.  Now college football is big business.  Coaches are making 5 million plus per year and can leave for a new job and more money anytime but players can't transfer without losing a year.  Schools are making millions of dollars and the NCAA is making hundreds of millions.  Is it morally right that a player works, sweats and trains year round and then gives their all on the field and can lose their scholarship at ANY time and if they break their neck the school does not have to support them? Is it right that a player cannot sell his autograph or cannot afford his own jersey the school is selling and making tons of money off of?  Is morally right that a math genius at a university can be paid to work by IBM while they are in school but a player cannot make money off of their talents.   GIVE THE PLAYERS A PERCENTAGE OF THE REVENUE!

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Theoretically this is a great idea. In reality, of course, it's unworkable. As earlier comments have pointed out, 18 year olds are not ready physically for the NFL. My suggestion is for the NFL to take a more direct approach in working with the colleges. College ball IS a farm system for the NFL. We all know that.  So have the pros peel off some of those billions and give direct support to to the colleges. Pay for a piece of their programs. Why should T. Boone Pickens have to shell out 20 million when that would be chump cage for the pros? A piece of the NFL money goes to the NCAA, or whatever replaces it. Pay the players. Build facilities.  

I don't pretend the brief statement I've made answers every question, but I think it's a realistic beginning. How college sports are played is changing. More change is inevitable. Let's start talking about it realistically., 

Blinker
Blinker

I give this man an A+ for his speech.  "But don’t come here and say, ‘We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000." I'm so sick of these athletes acting just like many of the youth today, feeling like they entitled to whatever their hearts desire.  Work hard and get the free education the school is GIVING to you and do something with your life!!!!!!!

Aaron14
Aaron14

College athletics has always been a bartering system. Why do they still try to pretend that they are not giving financial compensation for athletes services?  This is just more "I want the money and I'm not giving it to anybody else" type of talk and then trying to shift the blame elsewhere. 

Joel1
Joel1

Agree.


Don't play college players unless you're going to pay every student.

giwan1259
giwan1259

@Michael7843853 The high schools have ticket and concession sales and they should give the athletes a cut. 

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@BigBubba 

I hadn't realized how rapacious they'd gotten about seats and pricing.  Shameful.  But hey, this is all about the kids -- you know, the joy of getting a good education while playing for the ol' college team.  Brings a tear to your eye.

As for the man himself:  his salary is a cool million-plus bucks a year overseeing "amateur" college sports.  He hardly seems like the someone to be taken seriously about the sacredness of amateurism.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@PatrickKelley  you know... there are elite academic institutions that also produce top end DI sports programs

Your model doesn't provide a middle ground for schools like Cal, Michigan, Stanford, Duke, etc etc

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

@ianlinross Its not as if they set out to have the system as it stands today.  It has morphed into what we have over 100 years of college football.  For baseball, the option of college or the minors exists, similar to Canadian hockey.  For whatever reason, the concept of minor league systems for football and basketball didn't develop.  As for your reference to the greed of the NCAA, you can also cite the cheapness of the NFL and NBA in subcontracting out their farm system to the universities.

Daniel19
Daniel19

@NoQNoSuperBowl  I've long thought the exact same thing. They brag about profits and don't wanna talk about those stadiums they aren't paying for and the minor leagues they don't contribute a dime to.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ammon44  this "idiot" provides a perfectly good system to replace the "status quo" with... and lal you do is rant and whine

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@biasedsportsfan hes saying that if you want to get paid, then go Pro... dont bother with college - its 100% true and hes right on the mark with this one

azathoth
azathoth

@ammon44 Give them a stipend, no problem (I think), but if you give them a % of revenue, goodbye tax exemption.  That's the big thing they are trying to skirt around, keeping the non-profit status so they don't have to pay 40% to the government.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@ammon44   there is a reason beyond the money that this system hasn't changed - its hideously complex and alot of slippery slopes are involved

whats next? High School players getting a cut of the revenues made from the gate at their games?  You know when you go to college, what the rules are.  Nobody is forcing you to play and take the scholarship.  


Tweak the scholly rules to be opt-out if your coach moves or leaves... allow players a stipend that is stored in escrow and given to them upon their exit from the university.  That way they still make money but it doesn't interfere with their time in college. 

connor35
connor35

@Rickapolis 18yo's arent ready for MLB either -- which is why kids straight from high school play 3 or 4 years of minor league baseball.  Same in hockey.  Only the rare phenoms in either baseball or hockey sport play as teens.  Others continue to grow, mature, and develop while playing their sport without the guise of getting an education and having arbitrary rules on how much they can play.  No reason football & basketball couldn't work the same way.

Jeff Gardiner
Jeff Gardiner

@Rickapolis The current system is workable? Workable or not this is where it is going because institutions of higher learning are not going to move more toward professionalism. 

Few baseball players are ready for the majors. They are given a choice, hook up with a Major League team and be paid while they develop in the minor leagues. Or attend college and play by collegiate rules. Development of baseball players is at the expense of the professional leagues. The NFL is the richest professional league in existent and has literally no player development costs. They have rode the backs of the NCAA for years. It is the NFL that is getting rich off of College Football. Actually the NFL drives the agents that have corrupted the NCAA game. The NFL and NFLPA's unwillingness to allow players to make money playing football is the crux of this problem.

As to the players. Medical Students are not paid by the university while they are developed to be employed by hospitals. Likewise for Engineering are not paid by the university while they are educated to work in industry.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@Blinker  

Oh, really?  In fine academic programs like "Leisure Management" (very much in demand in any booming labor market, I'm sure) with jocks-only classes, "tutors" who are actually cheating assistants, to say nothing of the ridiculously low test scores required of athletes to get into prestigious schools -- and which many of them have trouble making.  Oooookay.

Pickle742
Pickle742

@Blinker Maintenance workers get a free education on most college campuses. They also get a paycheck.

ammon44
ammon44

@Blinker Obviously a on athlete.  I played college football.  THEY WORK HARDER than anyone I have ever known.  We literally worked 60-70 hour weeks for football on top of going to class.  The education is not free it is simply a form of compensation for the players and the simple fact is that this compensation is way too low when you consider the BILLIONS that college athletics bring in and the MILLIONS that coaches are paid to coach on the sidelines but the guys sweating and bleeding on the field, the guys the fans pay to see,  don't get a cut?  GIVE ME A BREAK!

rkcla08
rkcla08

@Joel1 really misses the point in restricting athletes.  virtually every other student has the opportunity to work through college in their designated field and get paid.  journalism students can get paid to write, nursing students can get paid to work in hospitals, etc. etc. etc.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@giwan1259 @Michael7843853  

High school coaches don't earn millions a year, and h.s. athletic programs don't pull in hundreds of millions from TV deals.

Let's compare apples to apples.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@AaronDunckel @ammon44  

So, you're saying that college athletes -- on whose backs the colleges make hundreds of millions -- aren't entitled to the same rights as other citizens?

Interesting perspective.  I'm glad you're not the king.

MidwestGolfFan
MidwestGolfFan

@AaronDunckel @ammon44  

Ah, the old "slippery slope" argument:  pay the peasants fairly, and next thing you know, they'll be expecting yer lordships to treat 'em like reg'lar human bein's!  Perish the thought!

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@connor35 @Rickapolis  some actually get an education, and when they flame out after a few years... they have a future outside of being an ex-minor leaguer



hubrob107
hubrob107

@ammon44 @Blinker amen Blinker...its so funny, now the program is profitable and the leader of the big 10 says...ok we built this so now you go away...just like slavery.  Extremely arrogant for this guy to say that.  I said earlier, have all the sports admin work for room and board for 1 year.  They can have all the meals in the cafeteria they want. let them arrange their work schedules around cafeteria hours.  They can take any classes they want (but pay for lab fees) and give their salaries for the year to football and basketball players.  Lets see how that works out.  NARPs always talk about sports but have NO IDEA.

john s5
john s5

@ammon44 @Blinker Thats a lie. Student-athletes are only allowed to work 20 hours a week towards sports. You need to educate yourself about where the money comes from and how its used. And most of the money the coaches receive are from boosters. Not the University or the State government.

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

@rkcla08 @Joel1  not at the rates that alot of people are wanting to pay some of these athletes


at a minimum... pay ALL athletes the same

Blinker
Blinker

@ammon44 @john s5 @Blinker  

Hey Bud...  no need to make this personal.  I worked a full time job while earning my degree.  Paid for all of it myself.  Point is some of the players are not even interested in  a degree.  I agree with what is being said about if you are not interested in learning  do not take up a space that could be used for someone that is.  Or we can just pay all college athletes $100, 000 a season!!!!!!!  : )

ammon44
ammon44

@john s5 @ammon44 @Blinker Supposedly only 20 hours a week of practice time but when you add in  the travel time, the team meetings, the weightlifting, game plan, playbook study, physical therapy, early morning work outs, offseason training.  Yes on paper it is only 20 hours but all of these "non-mandatory" meetings and weightlifting quickly add up to 60+hours a week.  Ask any college football player and they will tell you.