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Delany: let players go straight to pros from high school

Jim Delany AP

The call to pay college football players above and beyond what’s involved with a scholarship has been growing louder and louder, with some members of Georgia and Georgia Tech and others staging an on-field “protest” this past Saturday.

Not surprisingly, Jim Delany is very staunchly against any type of pay-for-play model for student-athletes.  Somewhat surprisingly, he’s very much for another controversial avenue for players.

Speaking to Wednesday, the Big Ten commissioner appeared to be pushing the idea that football players, as well as those involved in basketball, be allowed to go straight from high school to the professional ranks.  Currently, football players have to be three years removed from their high school graduating class before the NFL allows them to enter the draft, one year before the NBA allows the same.

“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.”

Of course, Delany — or everyone as a whole in college sports for that matter — promoting such a tack would be a moot point without the cooperation of the NFL and/or the NBA.  Delany, who’s been at the forefront of the push for significant structural changes in collegiate athletics, says the NCAA and its members need to work more closely with

It’s unclear how deep Delany’s tongue was in his cheek when making any of these “recommendations.”

“You don’t have to play for the Redskins or the Bears at 17, but you could develop IMG,” Delany said. “My gosh, there are lots of trainers out there. There are quarterback coaches teaching passing skills, guys lifting weights, guys training and running. They can get as strong and as fast in that environment as they can in this environment. Plus, they don’t have to go to school. Plus, they can sell their likeness and do whatever they want to do. We don’t want to do that. What we want to do is do what we’ve been doing for 100 years. …

“I think we ought to work awful hard with the NFL and the NBA to create an opportunity for those folks. We have it in baseball, we have it in golf, works pretty good, we have it in golf, we have it in hockey. Why don’t we have it in football, basketball? Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?”

To be honest, it’s hard to tell whether Delany is offering up a serious solution to the pay-for-play issue or if he’s merely throwing a sarcastic hissy fit like he did when threatening the Big Ten would drop sports if the O’Bannon lawsuit were to be successful.

Either way, it’s good fodder from a decidedly unexpected source on an issue that simply is not going away.


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42 Responses to “Delany: let players go straight to pros from high school”
  1. dhlions says: Sep 26, 2013 11:11 AM

    Seems to me like Delany is just protecting his and his partners’ bank accounts, but wouldn’t a model analogous to the NHL be more fitting?

  2. YouMadCauseImStylingOnYou says: Sep 26, 2013 11:15 AM

    Talk about out of touch comments.

    How much does this guy pocket off the backs of these kids from the Big 10 network?

    Bet it’s a little more than a scholarship to Nebraska.

    Dude literally sounds like a plantation owner.

  3. ibreathefootball says: Sep 26, 2013 11:21 AM

    Delany sounds like he loves IMG Academy. Everyone make sure his bank account doesn’t have a new HUGE debit from them because he just marketed them better than a commercial!

  4. normtide says: Sep 26, 2013 11:34 AM

    This guy is a big time commissioner? His league is fading fast, and his bail out plan is to give up? Keep paying this clown, B1G. You’ll be back on top soon…

  5. mogogo1 says: Sep 26, 2013 11:38 AM

    Most guys couldn’t got straight to the NFL but they could go to a developmental league from high school. And if such a league got the lion’s share of the best players, how long until Big 10 revenue took a hit? I can’t believe they haven’t tossed Delany yet. He’s the most clueless guy out there.

  6. drummerhoff says: Sep 26, 2013 11:39 AM

    Does anyone think college football would be as popular if the top players were all in some semi-pro league? I love the pageantry of college athletics but I watch all day Saturday because of the talent on the field.
    Once again, Jim Delany thinks he can have his cake and eat it to. The guy with the golden shoes needs a foot up his ass.

  7. tigersfandan says: Sep 26, 2013 11:42 AM

    The NCAA has become all about money. It’s sad.

  8. manik56 says: Sep 26, 2013 11:46 AM

    Delany is 100% correct. No one is forcing these kids to play college ball. If you do not want to play by their rules, don’t play.

  9. drewsylvania says: Sep 26, 2013 11:50 AM

    Yes, let them start their chronic concussion symptoms earlier!

  10. whitdog23 says: Sep 26, 2013 12:04 PM

    Bravo Delaney….bravo!! Let IMG be the babysitter…..totally agree. 2 words sum up the HS straight to pros argument — Todd Marinovich

  11. mauldawg says: Sep 26, 2013 12:23 PM

    I can see it now, a 16 or 17 year old HS stud getting the crap kicked out of he or hurt so bad they never can play again. Next step is for Mom and Dad to sue the NFL because their little boy got hurt or worse. What the hell is Delaney thinking.

  12. chc4 says: Sep 26, 2013 12:25 PM

    Ironically the players would be the ones hurt if they were allowed to go straight to the NFL from high school. Far too many would do it and 99.9% would fail. Universities give these guys a great opportunity to develop their bodies, workout habits, and of course play on a big stage. An 18 year old simply isn’t ready physically.

    Plus it would allow agents an incentive to infiltrate high schools.

    Looking at basketball, for every Kobe and Lebron there are dozens of other that should’ve gone to college and developed.

  13. cospgsmadman says: Sep 26, 2013 12:42 PM

    its obviously this clown has never played a down in his life

  14. pricecube says: Sep 26, 2013 12:44 PM

    A lot of these kids who want to be paid big money for playing college football have no business being in college anyway. They are not there to learn. Many of them would NEVER be able to get into some of the schools they attend were it not for football.

    I agree with Delany and would like to see something like minor league farm teams for the NFL. There would still be plenty of talented kids willing to play college football.

    A full ride at a school like Vanderbilt with everything covered (including healthcare) is probably worth half a million dollars.

    They have minor league hockey, baseball etc. Why not football?

  15. bender4700 says: Sep 26, 2013 12:56 PM

    I get what he’s saying, but that’s mostly why I don’t agree with him. He’s coming from the “we don’t share the $” angle. Which is wrong.

    Totally a demonstration of the mindset of those in charge in College football. Terrible.

    He doesn’t get it.

  16. wustlumdnj says: Sep 26, 2013 1:05 PM

    LOL yeah you guys are right – college basketball just hasn’t enjoyed any population since the forming of the NBA D-League became all the rage

  17. mrsmell says: Sep 26, 2013 1:14 PM

    The problem is the NFL doesnt have minor league players like the NBA and MLB, where prospects can train and get paid something until they are ready. Then again with all these rules changes to be “safer”, a HS student could eventually play professional flag football soon.

  18. bamajs says: Sep 26, 2013 1:33 PM

    Delaney nailed it. No tongue in cheek. Absolutely nailed it.

  19. jimbo75025 says: Sep 26, 2013 1:36 PM

    I say let the player decide. They can make themselves eligible for the draft or if choose college they must wait three year before entering the draft. If they are caught accepting extra benefits in college, they lose all eligibility for both college and If they choose the draft after HS, they lose all college eligibility-period.

    The first few years,a ton of HS prospects would choose the draft. Few if any would actually make the team and they would be done for and declarees would stop and all this becomes a moot point. Can you see a linbacker 4 months out of high school outsmarting Peyton Manning or Drew Brees-I do not think so.

  20. grumpyoleman says: Sep 26, 2013 1:42 PM

    I like delaneys idea. Let the unappreciative punks go to a semi pro league that no one will care about or support. Maybe then they will realize what the schools and NCAA do for them

  21. shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 2:05 PM

    The NFL already has a developmental league. It’s the NCAA.

  22. 8to80texansblog says: Sep 26, 2013 2:21 PM

    Minor league football has been tried…. several times. There have been fringe pro leagues that the NFL could mine talent out of, there has even been an NFL sanctioned farm league in Europe.

    Only one of them worked and they eventually merged with the NFL.

  23. rips08 says: Sep 26, 2013 2:22 PM

    I think he may not be serious here, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea. Most college athletes are not going Pro, so they appreciate the scholarship they receive and the opportunity to get an education. Some players just don’t want to go to school, why make them. The NCAA doesn’t make them go to school, the NFL makes them wait 3 years. So, if anyone should pay these players for playing in the NCAA “minor league” it should be the NFL.
    I think the NCAA could do more for the athletes, like the full cost of attendance that has been talked about or providing insurance to all players who are injured and can’t continue to play, but if a kid doesn’t want to go to school, he should be able to play somewhere and get paid. Basketball has Europe, MLB and NHL have minor leagues. Maybe the Arena League or Canada are options, I don’t know their rules. NCAA will always give them more exposure so the “nothing” they get is probably worth it.

  24. cospgsmadman says: Sep 26, 2013 2:59 PM

    If anybody thinks a high school kid can play in the NFL is crazy. There is a reason there is an age requirement. It is a mans in the NFL game not some little boys game. That’s why the best college team would get killed by the worst NFL team. These guys are big and fast. Like I said, people who think they can has never played a snap at ANY level !!!

  25. jytlm says: Sep 26, 2013 3:01 PM

    I really wish there would be professional minor leagues for football and basketball (although the D League does already exist). I’m tired of people arguing that academic institutions need to be running professional sports teams. I’m tired of people complaining about schools making so much money off athletics and spending so much, when they are the ones cheering big tv contracts, spending money on tickets and donations, and who would flip out if their school let their football coach walk away because the school didn’t want to pay more money or they couldn’t land a big recruit because of sub-par facilities.

    And if people watch college athletics for the talent, then a minor league should be a wildly successful investment

  26. drpompanoduke says: Sep 26, 2013 3:09 PM

    I love college football, played at D3…..Delaney is more interested in protecting a revenue stream then anything else. Pathetic anyone thinks anything else & if I was in his shoes making big $$$$ I would do the same. He is a professional who wants to protect amateurs so he can make the $$$.

  27. shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 3:16 PM

    Of course, Delany can’t seriously mean this, because it would negatively impact his job and his business if it happened. If guys like Johnny Manziel and Jadeveon Clowney could really just skip the college system altogether, then their talent would be unavailable for NCAA football, and the quality of the product on the field would diminish.

  28. skwackquackwoof says: Sep 26, 2013 3:27 PM

    There are several farm programs already in place for football (CFL, AFL). Athletes from most Division 1 schools already have at least a couple players who are getting paid. College athletes with talent have been paid for at least the last 30 years if not longer (I played hoops with a Utah OL who was getting Under Armour $). Delaney is bleating because of the risk of exposure to NCAA sanctions that getting caught triggers. The Big 10 Commissioner can’t just come out and say the NCAA is irrelevant for obvious reasons. You can hate on the Pac all you want, but I am glad that we have Larry Scott as our commissioner. Look at the way his office handled the news of Peen St’s sanction reduction. Delaney would be better suited for Mtn West or Southland. He has valid points but does not think before speaking.

  29. polegojim says: Sep 26, 2013 3:42 PM

    Wow… it’s freaky how many posting comments here don’t even get WHY Delaney said what he said???

    Get current and informed for crying out loud.

    Agreed with the many above – he NAILED it.

  30. friarjack61 says: Sep 26, 2013 4:51 PM

    Once a jock( n0 offense to the student athlete) is paid, he become a professional, under the rules of amateurism. If schools start paying jocks, who seldom attend classes, have assignments done by Athletic Dept. tutors, which includes, many, possessing an inability to speak the Kings English: the college ‘path’ to the pros should be terminated……. in favor of a new structured sports level to the NBA/NFL: Every large city establish a semi-pro league in football and basketball, that does not require any academic information for entry. This way, all the jocks, who only want to play a sport, and become the ‘king’ to their neighbor – hoods, would never have to fake attending classes, and worry about being seen driving a BMW on campus. You will only have to prove that you can sign your name to a contract, and nod to answer a question.

  31. ratsfoiledagain says: Sep 26, 2013 5:40 PM

    shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 2:05 PM

    The NFL already has a developmental league. It’s the NCAA.
    Wrong…you can go to college , scholarship or not, play football, or any other sport, and never step foot on your respective sports professional field of play. It called a choice.

  32. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 26, 2013 7:16 PM

    Division III, here comes the B1G!

  33. ningenito78 says: Sep 26, 2013 10:04 PM

    Tongue and cheek or not he’s 100% right.

  34. jcarne9014 says: Sep 26, 2013 10:22 PM

    What almost everybody does not realize is just how few players we are talking about. Only 1.7% of college players play professionally and 0.08% of high school players do (Business Insider, Feb 2012). If some percentage of these players chose to play in a “minor” league, foregoing their eligibility to play in college, do you really think NCAA football would suffer greatly? I don’t think so.

  35. shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 10:25 PM

    shadowcell says: Sep 26, 2013 2:05 PM

    The NFL already has a developmental league. It’s the NCAA.
    Wrong…you can go to college , scholarship or not, play football, or any other sport, and never step foot on your respective sports professional field of play. It called a choice.


    Right, because NCAA football totally *isn’t* where NFL-bound players develop their craft and condition themselves for the rigors of the NFL game. All those guys from college who just conveniently declare for the draft and go professional every year, with or without finishing their degrees, are a completely irrelevant coincidence. Of course.

    It’s called reality.

  36. bballnut50 says: Sep 26, 2013 11:55 PM

    Once again true intelligence from the true power conference of world leaders. We all know he is 100% correct. We all know that since the NFL cut off those stinking lying agents they would move the focus elsewhere! So they want to push kids to get paid and then they can sign them up and use them up…Delaney just gave each Big Ten school 24 million each….so this “clown” as some SEC fans want to call him may just want to check yourself. Delaney just put the dirty agents AND the NFL on notice, keep pushing for this and we will fix the “poor” athlete problem real quick. We will just take away the entry into the pro’s and put the NFL on the hook for the dough…good luck getting dough out of those old pockets…

  37. atmason says: Sep 27, 2013 2:43 AM

    Delaney is Satan.

  38. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 27, 2013 2:03 PM

    Ten years from now.

    The University of Michigan was upset today by East Shippenburg State in Michigan’s Homecoming game
    before a record Division III crowd of 32,500.

    In other sports news, Ohio State lost to Depauw and
    Minnesota was beaten soundly by new Division I
    power Whattamatta University out of Frostbite Falls.

    B1G football, (if Delaney has his way) coming soon to Division III.

  39. amosalanzostagg says: Sep 27, 2013 5:29 PM

    bballnut50 says: Sep 26, 2013 11:55 PM

    Once again true intelligence from the true power conference of world leaders. We all know he is 100% correct. We all know that since the NFL cut off those stinking lying agents they would move the focus elsewhere! So they want to push kids to get paid and then they can sign them up and use them up…Delaney just gave each Big Ten school 24 million each….so this “clown” as some SEC fans want to call him may just want to check yourself. Delaney just put the dirty agents AND the NFL on notice, keep pushing for this and we will fix the “poor” athlete problem real quick. We will just take away the entry into the pro’s and put the NFL on the hook for the dough…good luck getting dough out of those old pockets…

    The B1G dictating to the NFL? Smart, real smart.

    What happens when the NFL decides to contract with schools to provide them talent and leaves the B1G out in the cold? Call it NFL Outreach. The schools could have a major in Pro sports. A degree stressing communications (for after pro ball.), personal finances, and if the player wants an outside degree. A player development program with NFL approved schools on an NFL protocol. Say the NFL decides to contract with the SEC, PAC-12, the Big 12 and the ACC for talent and says that they already have enough schools to meet their standards since there are more than enough smaller schools to supplement their base with NFL approved schools. What would the B1G do then? Talent that would have gone to the Ohio State now goes to Georgia or Texas. Michigan loses Michigan kids because they want to play meaningful games on a meaningful stage on Saturday afternoons. Forget Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, the kids want to play against the best in the best conferences and matchups.

    I guess the B1G really wants to go Division III.

    Some intelligent power conference.

    In Pro football alone, a 17 or 18 year old kid is no match for a 23 year old in their prime emotionally, physically or mentally. You think a kid playing against his peers one year is REALLY up to the task of taking on a grown mature man? That is why so many 5 star athletes in HS fade because they are already matured. Look at an NFL roster of kids that grew up between their freshman and sophomore years in college simply because they haven’t grown into their bodies yet and went to smaller schools.

    By all means, B1G tell kids to go to pros from HS and then watch your precious
    basketball teams revert to “Hooisers” without Jimmy Chitwood and your football go to single wing formations.

    If you want reality, look up David Clyde and see what happens to HS phenoms who go to the pros right out of HS. This is what B1G logic looks like,


  40. cfuselier13 says: Sep 28, 2013 2:32 AM

    I agree with Delaney’s point of starting a farm league for the NFL and have the players decide. This has worked for Hockey and Baseball for decades. Plenty of 4 and 5 star athletes in baseball and hockey still choose to go to college. It would also provide for lesser athletes who went to college didn’t get drafted to play in the pros a chance to refine skills as with Baseball for example. Also, some of these kids we all sit around and call “BUST” might have a chance to make it back to the pros with a year or two in a minor league for the NFL.

    I don’t agree with the whole allow a kid out of high school in the pros directly.

  41. suprmous says: Sep 29, 2013 11:51 PM

    You guys have had your say, now’s a female’s turn. And yes I feel I’m qualified because of 4 good reasons: raised by 1 and with 3 former of Bama’s finest.

    There’s no way kids comin straight out of high school are ready for the pros whether it be for baseball, football, or whatever. They may not have had conditionin and strength trainin among other things, the coaches may not have had any education toward Physical Education, etc. Some schools have coaches that primarly are teachers first then go and “coach” part-time. In this day and time $$’s so tight with education till a lot of school systems they barely can scrape by on the staff they have. The kids suffer just as much. A lot of kids wanna play but with not bein in the best of shape they wouldn’t last till the watah got hot, if the hot watah didn’t work. Jim Delaney and others like him are about as delusional as a drug addict on drugs tryin to give a speech and make sense at the same time. Simply put it can’t be done. Granted there may be gifted atheletes somewhere in the mix but still overall they still need an education to fall back on should they have a career endin injury. Now you may have my head handed to me.

  42. ronm1963 says: Oct 1, 2013 2:48 AM

    The debate over paying college athletes has become a boon to the nation’s sports media and the lawyers in our litigious society, the latter of whom I dare say have seldom demonstrated benefiting anything or anyone beyond themselves. I also would suggest that the same is true of another major player or players in the current debate — with the possible exception of MLB and the NHL. I’m speaking of particularly of the NFL.

    In fact, before getting directly to the issue at hand let me suggest that it might behoove everyone who wishes to debate this issue to dispense at once with the fiction that the NFL is performing some altruistic service by currently abstaining from drafting players directly from high school. Indeed, let’s be absolutely clear on one very fundamental point, to wit: THE NFL HAS NOT IN THE PAST; IS NOT CURRENTLY DOING SO; NOR WILL IT EVER DO SO IN THE FUTURE, ANYTHING FOR AMATUER ATHLETES OUT OF SOME UNSELFISH SENSE OF WHAT IS RIGHT.

    The NFL is a hard-nosed business. The only reason it has refrained from drafting young athletes directly from high school is because it is in the league’s clear financial interest not to do so. It’s business model is based on a fundamental truth: “Why undertake sponsoring such a hugely expensive part of the equation when the (nation’s) colleges and universities can foot our training bills and essentially help us eliminate the chaff from our product.”

    Now, more to the point.

    I have always believed the amateur athletic system in our nation essentially operates quite well, notwithstanding minor tweaks of its rules. Schools offering athletic programs should, if they desire, be free to extend an athlete a scholarship or, possibly more appropriately, a grant, that essentially pays for tuition, books, room, board, tutoring, study facilities and health care. In addition, a monthly stipend earmarked for personal incidental expenses normally incurred by any student athlete should be part of the grant, but under no circumstances should this include paying an athlete a salary or pay-to-play.

    Over the years the schools and/or their governing bodies, such as the NCAA, have done a tremendous job of not only providing and administering sports programs, but have extended this to numerous other sports-related areas. This includes providing sports education, sports administration and management; undertaking and providing research education focusing on athletics training, health, physical fitness, sports medicine and safety; providing first class training facilities to maximize potential and performance in a wide array of athletic pursuits; and providing physical education and athletic coaching studies, to name just a few.

    Athletes who do not wish to participate under such a system are and should be free to declare themselves available for a draft by a professional team or, in the case of sports like golf or tennis, declare their professional status and qualify for play accordingly. This would entail the athletes going directly from high school to an NBA, MLB or NFL team — or to a developmental league similar to MBL’s “farm system,” or that provided by an NHL team.

    Ultimately, the choice would be that of the athlete. The athlete and his or her parents would determine participation in a sport or sports on a professional level — or remain an amateur while simultaneously pursuing a college education paid for by the educational institution.

    In the final analysis, this not only is a rational course, but should put to rest the debate over an issue that frankly, given the truly monumental problems facing our nation and the world, should be seen for what it really is — a tempest in a teapot.

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