One of the most powerful men in collegiate athletics is nearing the end of his reign.
During his time at the podium during Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, commissioner Jim Delany hinted very strongly that he would not be around when the conference’s new media rights deal expires in 2022. In fact, the 68-year-old commish sounded fairly positive that he’ll be somewhere other than the league’s headquarters in Rosemont, Ill., when that deal comes up for negotiations.
“I have a lot of energy and a lot of interest in what’s going on in the college space today,” Delany said. “I will be around for a bit. Whether I’m around here for six years is probably a little bit beyond how I see it.”
A short time later, Nicole Auerbach of USA Today, citing a person with direct knowledge of the situation, reported that Delany will step down in 2020. Jut when in 2020 Delany would ceded control after more than three decades on the job isn’t clear.
Delany took over as commissioner of the conference in 1989. Arguably his greatest accomplishment in that role was helping the league to develop the Big Ten Network, an in-house ATM that has helped the conference stay in step with the SEC financially.
During his tenure, he also helped shepherd the Big ten through the maze of expansion, first with Penn State in the early nineties and then with Nebraska in 2011 and Maryland and Rutgers three years later.