Jim Delany

Jim Delany the doomsday prepper

24 Comments

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is one of the most powerful people in college sports, so when he makes statements suggesting the possible implosion of the college sports scene, people will listen to what he has to say. Delany may be a wise person who understands the inner workings of the game today than some might ever be able to comprehend, but he seemed to go to a wild extreme while testifying as a witness in the Ed O’Bannon antitrust trial in California on Friday.

Delany suggested the Rose Bowl would actually be in jeopardy if players were being paid to play football. For the Big Ten, the loss of the Rose Bowl would be as close to doomsday as it could get given the conference’s dedication to the storied bowl game, its tradition and long-standing relationship between the Big Ten, Pac-12 and the Rose Bowl.

“There wouldn’t be a Rose Bowl if either [the Pac-12] or [the Big Ten] were operating in a very different wavelength in terms of paying players,” Delany said Friday while on the witness stand. Delany was suggesting the game would be at risk if one conference was paying players while the other was not.

Of course, if both conferences allowed for paying players, perhaps Delany’s tune would change. While the antitrust lawsuit is not specifically about directly paying players to pay, the topic continues to be a boiling point for the trial and was one that was discussed at great length on Thursday and Friday with Delany and NCAA president Mark Emmert taking the witness stand.

“These games are owned by the institution, and the notion of paying athletes for participation in these games is foreign to the notion of amateurism,” Delany said.

Delany echoed some of the same thoughts expressed by Emmert when discussing amateurism. To paraphrase, the two believe that the amateurism model set up decades ago, in a different era, should be good enough to fit in with today’s world. Delany is quite the visionary, and his testimony overall may have done more damage than good for the NCAA’s case, but what these two sometimes fail to see is today’s college sports scene is not comparable to what existed in previous decades. Adapting is the key. Delany knows that, as evidenced by Big Ten moves since he has been named commissioner of the conference. The Big Ten has added four schools and started the first truly successful conference-specific cable network under his watch.

Would the Rose Bowl, the granddaddy of them all and the true crown jewel of the Big Ten (and Pac-12) really be in much jeopardy of players were being paid? If the day does come, expect Delany to have his shelter to be stocked with nothing but the finest preserved foods and supplies and a direct feed to the Big Ten Network running day and night.

Ex-LSU AD repeats claim Les Miles turned down Michigan, more money in 2011

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers leads the team on to the field at Tiger Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

One of the biggest open secrets in all of college football has been confirmed (?) by a person who purportedly had a front-row seat to the spectacle.

Shortly after Rich Rodriguez was fired following the 2010 season, Michigan put on the full-court press to land Les Miles as his replacement.  It was known at the time that then-UM athletic director David Brandon and other school officials flew down to Baton Rouge to meet with Miles, who played his football for the Wolverines in the mid-seventies and was an assistant at his alma mater a decade later.

The open secret many still swear by?  That on that trip south Brandon had offered the job, along with a significant raise to what he was making at LSU, to Miles, who ultimately decided to turn it down and stay with the Tigers.

During a radio interview Wednesday, Skip Bertman, LSU athletic director from 2001-2008, confirmed that version of events

“Les Miles turned that job down for more money at Michigan. He turned it down,” Bertman told the ESPN Radio affiliate in Baton Rouge. “He would never say that because he’s a very humble guy. But I was there; he turned it down.”

Renowned Michigan historian John Bacon, however, disputes not only the 2011 claim, but the 2007 claim by Kirk Herbstreit and one made in 2014 as well.

The football program hired Rodriguez in 2007 and Brady Hoke in 2011, then stuck with Hoke through a rough 2014 season that had Miles-to-Ann Arbor speculation flying yet again. Ultimately, though, the university finally landed its Michigan Man in Jim Harbaugh.  I’m thinking that’s working out just fine for the program, regardless of how exactly things transpired with Miles in the past.

Big Ten to use commemorative coin to honor Sam Foltz, Mike Sandler

sam-foltz-cleats
Nebraska athletics
Leave a comment

Tributes to Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have seemingly been a weekly occurrence across college football the first four weeks of the season, and the players’ conference will get on board in Week 5.

A commemorative coin will be used to honor both Foltz and Sadler at all seven Big Ten games this weekend, the league announced Wednesday.  As this is the first full weekend of conference action, the coins, with Foltz on one side and Sadler on the other, will be used for the coin flip prior to each league matchup.

The Cornhuskers have decided to use the coins for the remainder of the season.

Folks and Sadler were killed in a July car accident on their way home from a kick camp in Wisconsin. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the wreck, but is kicking this season for the Tigers and honoring both by wearing special cleats.

Below are the coins that will be used, courtesy of the Big Ten:

sam-foltz

mike-sadler

Nick Saban would ‘love’ for Blake Barnett to stay at Alabama

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05:  Blake Barnett #6 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws before the Advocare Classic against the Wisconsin Badgers at AT&T Stadium on September 5, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

At least from Alabama’s side of it, the door’s not completely shut on Blake Barnett‘s future being in Tuscaloosa.

Earlier Wednesday, a report surfaced that Barnett had decided to leave the football program and transfer out.  In meeting with the media a short time later, Nick Saban confirmed that Barnett had “expressed some concern about his future” at a meeting earlier in the day.

The head coach said he “didn’t know” when asked if Barnett, who lost the starting quarterback job to true freshman Jalen Hurts earlier this year, was still a part of the team, although he made it clear that the redshirt freshman was still welcome in the locker room if he changes his mind.

“Blake is a fine young man,” Saban said. “He’s done a great job with his program, and we’d love to see him be a part of the program in the future, but we also want him to do what’s best for him.”

Barnett, who started the opener against USC but held on to the job for just tw series, was a five-star 2015 recruit who 247Sports.com rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country.  The California high school product originally committed to Notre Dame in November of 2013 before decommitting from the Irish in June of the following year.

SEC overturns Florida WR Brandon Powell’s half-game suspension for phantom punch

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 03: Brandon Powell #4 of the Florida Gators scores on a 77 yard touchdown reception during the second quarter of the game against the Mississippi Rebels on October 3, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

Fortunately for both Brandon Powell and Florida, common sense in the league office prevailed.

In the fourth quarter of UF’s loss to Tennessee, Powell was flagged for an unsportsmanlike call and ejected from the game for seemingly throwing a punch at a Vols player.  Because of SEC rules, Powell was also set to be suspended from the first half of this Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt.

The conference, however, overturned the suspension upon review, no doubt determining that Vols safety Rashaan Gaulden performed a flop of such magnitude that it would’ve made an international soccer star stand up and cheer, then bow down and claim they’re not worthy.

We’ve received word that he’ll go,” head coach Jim McElwain said Wednesday. “Nothing from there, so he was full go from Monday afternoon on.”

Powell is currently second on the team with 15 receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns.