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O’Bannon consultant: Delany’s statement ‘the most irrational… I’ve ever seen’

Jim Delany AP

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany made headlines again earlier this week in an interview with Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated.

Delany confirmed that if the Ed O’Bannon case, which is moving toward class-action status, results in college athletes receiving compensation from television revenue, he would consider de-emphasizing the Big Ten’s athletics programs — possibly going to an FCS or Division III model — in the name of amateurism.

It’s a statement of belief,” Delany told Staples. “I think that’s what would happen. I do not believe that the hypothetical case being put forth — if it actually became the case — that Big Ten institutions would engage in that.”

Believe it as he may, practically no one else did. Sonny Vaccaro, a consultant for the O’Bannon plaintiffs, called Delany’s comments “insane”.

It’s the most irrational statement I’ve ever seen from a person who’s in power to do something for the players,” Vaccaro said via al.com. “Pay-for-play is not a true statement. What it is and what it always will be is compensation for these kids when they’re no longer at the school so they’re part of the process.”

Recall that it was Delany and the Big Ten who discussed the idea more money for athletes on top of the value of their athletic scholarship  — not necessarily a pay-for-play — in May, 2011.

“What I would have hoped is people like this in authority overlooking the athletes, because they have no legal representation, is let’s do the right thing by the participants,” Vaccaro continued. “Let’s understand the world has changed. Basically, it was a threat so the public thinks the players are wrong.

“If that’s what they want to do, they should do it without funding new stadiums and paying millions of dollars to themselves. What Mr. Delany does not admit to is the value of the Big Ten Network to pay the salaries. If this happens, then Mr. Delany and his whole office will be out of work.”

That, or Delany won’t be among the most powerful people in college athletics anymore.

One thing can be agreed upon: paying players (and how to do so, whether it’s market value, percentages based on revenue, added value to a scholarship or otherwise) is a polarizing topic, which leads me to believe that, despite the conversations, it won’t happen anytime soon depending on the result of the O’Bannon case.

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15 Responses to “O’Bannon consultant: Delany’s statement ‘the most irrational… I’ve ever seen’”
  1. akhhorus says: Mar 20, 2013 11:35 AM

    For the topic, college players should get royalties from jersey sales and anything tied to promotion/sales on their image(video games, etc). But, for example, the 3rd string TE on Wisconsin from 2003-2007 who never played more then 1 snap in any season probably doesn’t have a case to say that his “work” for the team made Wisconsin any money.

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Mar 20, 2013 11:41 AM

    Paying college football players and other college athletes out of escalating TV revenues after their college days are over, may be an option.

    The decision in the O’Bannon case and some other cases which are winding their way into and in the judicial system will go a long way to decide this. A judge will likely ask for suggestions from the plaintiffs what they would like. If the O’Bannon case and other cases become a class action, it will likely be over for the status quo.

    Sonny Vaccaro makes sense in so many ways. The first and foremost thing: Delany is insane. There may even be some proof available for that.

  3. mogogo1 says: Mar 20, 2013 12:25 PM

    Delany’s comments were so bizarre, it’s tough to tell what he was even trying to say. To call it an empty threat would be an understatement. Has Delany actually looked at what DIII sports look like compared to the Big 10? Because minus the TV money, that’s what he’d be left with. I’d bet the yearly upkeep on a stadium like the Big House is probably more than DIII schools spend on their entire football programs. What magical money tree would Delany use to make up for the funding shortfall once the TV money was gone?

    The thing I haven’t seen addressed much is the possibility O’Bannon could win his suit but that current players could be largely unaffected. What makes O’Bannon’s case so strong is the fact he’d been out of college for something like a decade when he saw a video game was using his likeness. I could see the argument possibly standing that while they’re in school on scholarship extra compensation wouldn’t be warranted. But once they’re out of college and the schools/NCAA are STILL making money off them while sharing none of it, that’s very clearly unfair.

  4. bamadawg1 says: Mar 20, 2013 12:34 PM

    I believe that these “student-athletes” either be given extra money that would allow them to go out or the rules change that would allow them to get a job to earn money. Other than that, I believe that a free education, room and board, meals, etc–worth well over $400,000 is a lot more than the average or normal student gets and they should be thankful for it!!! The contacts they will make will serve them well in their futures and are again, probably a lot better and more influential contacts than the average student makes in their college “career”!!!

  5. Deb says: Mar 20, 2013 12:44 PM

    Vaccaro: “It’s the most irrational statement I’ve ever seen from a person who’s in power to do something for the players. Pay-for-play is not a true statement. What it is and what it always will be is compensation for these kids when they’re no longer at the school so they’re part of the process.”

    Brilliant statement. Bears repeating. Especially the part about Delany’s irrationality.

  6. ogre2010 says: Mar 20, 2013 1:13 PM

    If the Big Ten moves to the FCS, at least they will be competitive

  7. foreverlsu says: Mar 20, 2013 1:24 PM

    Ed O’Bannon is just bitter that he couldn’t make as much money he thought he could during his miserable NBA “career.”

    For those of you that don’t know much about easy Ed, you should realize that Ed-O was selected as the 9th overall pick in 1995 by the NJ Nets. But Ed-O got homesick (poor baby)and was bitter because he wanted to be drafted by a team in the West. How pathetic! I have no use for people like this.

    Ed-O averaged a whopping 6.2 pts and 4.2 rebounds per game and was traded to the Mavs after just one season. He then played for 12 different teams in at least six countries for 15 different coaches. Can you say PROBLEM CHILD? Way to go, Ed-O.

    It looks to me like Ed-O had no problem capitalizing on his college career to fool the entire NBA about his abilities or lack thereof and now wants to bite the hand that fed him with this ridiculous lawsuit.

    Don’t go away mad, Ed, just GO AWAY!

  8. Deb says: Mar 20, 2013 1:59 PM

    @foreverlsu …

    All that may be true–I don’t follow basketball. But that doesn’t mean the lawsuit is without merit. Tyrone Prothro was a Bama receiver with prospects for a great pro career–until he suffered a career-ending injury in his final year playing for the Tide. He’s lucky to be walking.

    Prothro is now a bank teller, and Alabama is still profiting from sales of DVDs and other merchandise featuring his famous catches.

    My only Bama jersey is the #22 of our first-ever Heisman winner Mark Ingram. It doesn’t have his name on it because the NCAA won’t allow players’ names on jerseys to avoid getting into a debate about merchandising rights. But I only wanted the jersey because of Ingram.

    As Vaccaro said, these young men should be compensated for their role in selling these products–especially products that directly relate to them. That’s only fair.

  9. dcviking says: Mar 20, 2013 3:27 PM

    Sonny Vaccaro knows how act in the best interest of Sonny Vaccaro.

    I’m not sure but I believe he had his ethics removed at birth.

  10. foreverlsu says: Mar 20, 2013 3:38 PM

    I hear ya, Deb but do you really think Alabama fans are buying the DVD’s because of Prothro or the fact that he had an Alabama uniform on? If he played for Southern Miss, there would have been far fewer sales. You make a good point about Ingram to counter my argument though.

    Tyrone Prothro knew the danger as soon as he stepped on the field – there is high risk/high reward with college football athletes. I just get irritated that everyone who argues that athletes should be compensated ignore the fact that they are compensated – I certainly wish my education were paid for.

    When I think of the difference in pay I currently earn versus what I would be making without a degree, the difference is staggering.

    If athletes are paid, where does it stop? How can you measure how much money each particular athlete should be compensated? How can you pay AJ McCarron X amount without paying his left tackle the same amount? Where is the money going to come from? Only about a dozen schools actually make a profit.

    Paying players sets a bad precedent but that’s just my opinion.

  11. mogogo1 says: Mar 20, 2013 5:15 PM

    I’m not a big fan of paying players either, but shamelessly making money hand-over-fist off of them while they get zero of it also sets a bad precedent. O’Bannon had been out of college for like a decade and they were still making money off him. Because he accepted a scholarship, they can profit off him forever?

    The players certainly aren’t saints–they are definitely at fault when they totally squander the opportunity to have a free college education. But you’ve also got a system where the coaches and administration would much rather have Johnny be academically eligible with plenty of time to devote to the sport rather than having him staying up late trying to cram for an Organic Chemistry final he might not be able to pass.

  12. Deb says: Mar 20, 2013 6:01 PM

    @foreverlsu …

    You make valid points as well. It’s a difficult argument. Prothro stays on my mind because he shouldn’t have been in that game–it was such a senseless injury. He was hurt going for a TD on fourth down in a blowout game against Florida. One of Mike Shula’s most insane calls as head coach. You just can’t help wanting to see him get some sort of nest egg.

    Yes, it’s his catches that still fascinate fans–but only because he’s wearing our uniform. Of course, you can say the same for Swann and Stallworth. I only have them on my wall because they’re Steelers–but they get a piece of the merchandising. A free education is important–and Prothro did get his degree, as did Ingram. Not all of them do.

    I’d just like to see them get a reasonable stipend to cover their expenses in school because they’re required to do so much practicing in addition to keeping up their grades. That would make me happy.

  13. eightysixisback says: Mar 21, 2013 9:21 AM

    @bamadawg1:
    Just wondering where you get $400,000 from? It didn’t cost me anywhere near that to go to a school that has one of the larger football programs in the country. It cost me at most 120,000 to get my degree in 4 years.

  14. Tom Poland says: Mar 21, 2013 11:04 AM

    Just shows how non-football that conference really is. No guts no glory.

  15. abrellbama says: Mar 21, 2013 5:36 PM

    At least the Big10 teams (one at any rate) would be assured a NC every year for the first couple of years til the recruits fall off because they don’t want to play DIII ball. Right now they only have a couple of teams that can contend in DI ball at any rate.

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