Jim Delany talks Big Ten Friday games, players rights movement
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany discussed Big Ten night games and Northwestern's union movement during a speech in Chicago.
The Big Ten could expand its schedule to include Friday night games, but don't expect it during Jim Delany's reign as the league's commissioner.
Recent reports suggested that Delany was "trying to get feedback" on Friday night games for upcoming media rights negotiations. While speaking to the City Club of Chicago, the Big Ten commissioner said the league would only look to schedule Friday football games for Thanksgiving and Labor Day weekends.
"Beyond that, I don't think while I'm around here you're going to see Friday night games," Delany said. "Down the road? Who knows?"
Earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board concluded its hearings to determine if Northwestern's football players are considered employees by law and thus allowed to unionize. The topic of players' rights is a hot issue everywhere, as student-athletes have become more active in fighting for a voice in college athletics.
Delany told the group that he is against paying players, but open to giving them a voice in the decision making process for college athletics.
"I think we need more seats at the table, for sure," he said. "And I think that we'll get that. I think that we'll get that as we restructure the NCAA. I feel certain that at institutes and conference and NCAA level, there will be more opportunity for points of view, and I hope to give them not only a voice but maybe a way to weigh in."
He said a victory by the players would mean the NCAA would likely seek "guidance from Congress" before knowing what college athletics would look like.
"Somebody with a clear crystal ball would have to describe what it might look like," Delany said. "I think there would have to be some congressional understanding of how these laws relate to anti-trust and how it would relate to Title IX and laws that relate to funding and whether a person is somebody that could be employable. ... It doesn't seem to me an easy and smooth response."
The AP write up has more quotes from Delany, including a comparison of the current NCAA reform to 1968 because "you've got traditions that are 100 years old that are being challenged, and I think in come cases, some of the challenges are proper."
NCAA reform might not seem comparable to social reform or civil rights, but many experts throughout the industry agree that the coming months -- restructuring the NCAA, the O'Bannon case and other potential union movements -- could change college athletics in a major way moving forward.
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