Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:37 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 6:41 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Big Ten teams hoping to play in the league's championship game don't have to worry about packing the cold weather gear.
The conference's Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously Sunday to hold the Big Ten football championship game inside at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis from 2012-2015. Soldier Field in Chicago was also considered to host the game but commissioner Jim Delany said Indianapolis just made more sense as the league looks to grow an event they'll be hosting for the first time at Lucas Oil in 2011.
"In order to establish ourselves and build a foundation, it's a good idea to be indoors and see what we have," said Delany. "The idea was that we could get consistency of planning for both teams if you knew the environment was going to be pretty consistent. I would say that it was a fan aspect as well as a players' aspect."
Big Ten football is known for being played outside in the elements and many fans - despite the possibility of braving cold weather for the game - also wanted the league's championship game to be played outside. Part of the reason the game was kept indoors, Delany only half-joked about, was that the game would allow teams to get a jump start on planning for bowl games in warmer climates.
"We play in tough weather in November but we play in great weather in September, October and then, as you know, we always play in great weather for bowl games in Florida, Texas and California," Delany said. "Maybe we’re just getting ready to play bowl games."
Indianapolis put in a strong big to host the game, including having Gov. Mitch Daniels and other prominent Indiana figures give their two cents as to why the city was best equipped to host the game. Delany did say Chicago was one of the country's best sports towns but the layout of Indianapolis and the city's reputation for hosting amateur athletics was too much for Chicago to overcome.
"On the Indianapolis side, they have developed a very integrated delivery system that benefited them in their presentation," Delany said. "I don’t think anybody who has ever worked with the Indianapolis community could come away anything other than exceptionally impressed."
Soldier Field's playing surface, a key concern for some after the field's performance in NFL games during cold weather, was not cited as a factor in the decision. The deal is for four years, with the championship game being played in primetime on Fox.
Delany added that the selection of Lucas Oil Stadium and Indianapolis for further Big Ten events (such as the men's and women's basketball tournament) just made sense for the Big Ten brand as much as it did for the game itself. While fans may not agree with the game being played indoors, they will be much warmer when the game rolls around in December.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:19 pm
By Eye on College Football Bloggers
Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:
Both Jim Delany and Mike Slive have come out in favor of "full cost of attendance" athletic scholarships that will include stipends for transportation, clothing, etc., in addition to covering tuition. But it's believed that not all conferences will be able to afford such stipends. Is this a plan college football fans should support?
Tom Fornelli: This is an interesting debate. Because my first inclination is that any extra money that the players can get, they should get. It's not that I think it'll keep players from breaking NCAA rules and taking money elsewhere or anything, it's just that I've always felt that the players should be getting a bigger piece of that billion dollar pie they bake to begin with.
That being said, I do worry about what this can lead to. It will affect recruiting. Let's say one conference is offering more than another. If I'm an 18-year old kid without a job, with an equal opportunity of playing at two different schools, but one is offering me $5,000 a year while the other $3,000? That $2,000 is going to make a big difference in my life. Plus, what if all the BCS conferences agree to a flat rate throughout to even that up? Well, that will just about kill the Mountain West's, WAC's and all the other non-BCS conferences' recruiting. The BCS already has an advantage over them, and now if they're offering even more, that gap only widens.
Adam Jacobi: You know what, though, Tom? I don't think the current recruiting rules did the little guys much good to begin with.
By that I mean, pretty much the only thing a school is allowed to use to entice a particular recruit is the relationship with the coach (playing time, off-field support) and the football program itself (game day, training facilities). Education also plays a role, but a rather weak one--the amount of young men who either A) enroll in the SEC or B) transfer from a quality school to some rinky-dink lower-division school whose diplomas mean about as much as a McDonald's placemat would indicate that the quality of education is not nearly as important as playing time or on-field prestige.
And sure, limiting recruiting pitches to football and education sounds good, but it basically means that a have-not type of school--your typical Sun Belt or MAC program, say--can't do a damn thing to entice an upper-level recruit to come there instead of to a BCS school.
Jerry Hinnen: Right. There's no question that the proposal would end any kind of recruiting "battles" between BCS and non-BCS teams (assuming the latter, as widely believed, couldn't come up with the scratch to put it into practice). Playing time and shots at championships only matter so much compared to (over four years) $8,000-$12,000.But how many of those battles are going on in the first place? A handful in the West between Boise State and San Diego State and various Pac-12 schools ... maybe a few between bottom-rung BCS schools looking for sleepers in Texas and Florida and local C-USA teams like UCF, Houston and SMU ... perhaps a local metro recruit could be persuaded to stay in the MAC at Temple or, now, UMass, rather than going to ride the bench at a Big East cellar dweller.
AJ: Remember how funny it was that Cyrus Kouandjio kept leaving New Mexico in his Top 5? It's probably irritating to non-power schools that it was so funny.
At the same time, though, the last thing we need is a redux of the cash-crazy SWC days. That was unseemly and it ended badly. We don't need to encourage that type of behavior. And that's why I think what Tom's suggesting, that one school might be able to offer a flat sum of money more than the other, won't come to pass. There's going to be some strict regulation on what constitutes the full cost of attendance, and that seems fair. What I'd be interested in is how this extra money is disbursed. Surely they don't plan to award the money in a flat sum at the beginning of each semester, right? Because if you put $2,000 in a college kid's bank account and tell him it's got to last for four months, how long do you think that money's really going to last? And how much of that money is going to be spent conspicuously (i.e. cars, bling, alcohol), potentially embarrassing a school that fought hard for the athletes to get that extra money? JH: That could be a problem. But the fallout I'm worried about from this plan isn't what happens if it passes; it's what happens if the NCAA's mid-major rank-and-file (which may not have a dog in the FBS fight but will no doubt do whatever they can to protect their D-I men's hoops interests) find a way to keep it from passing. It's possible that that's the point at which the BCS schools take their ball and go home to their own, NCAA-free college football Premier League ... and as someone who enjoys seeing Boise State try to break through the glass ceiling and the C-USA champ take on the SEC in the Liberty Bowl and even, say, Temple take on Penn State in mid-September, I think college football would be dramatically poorer for it.
Chip Patterson: Further separation from the BCS and Non-BCS schools is the scariest aspect to me in this whole situation. The threat/idea of a BCS breakaway from the NCAA (as Jerry mentioned) seems to be a doomsday scenario that everyone knows exists, but no one wants to talk about. It would bring up new definitions and standards for college athletes, as well as amateurism in general. Full cost scholarships are going to be a nightmare to try and define and establish across college football, and I fear the results of the conversation would only raise more problems than it would solve.Around many college campuses, the football team is on a bigger celebrity status than city officials. You give 18-22 year olds a new stream of cash to go along with their larger-than-life status, there are going to be some consequences. You could argue that there would be no more of a threat of off-field misconduct than already exists, but I find it difficult to imagine it won't play a factor in misconduct reports in the future.
Bryan Fischer: The one thing to keep in mind about these full-cost scholarship proposals is that they're going to be adjusted based on federal calculations to cover the gap between what the college scholarship covers now and what it actually costs to attend a school.
Posted on: May 24, 2011 1:36 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's long been a given that as big an ethical and regulatory minefield as college football recruiting is, it could be worse; it could be college basketball recruiting, an area frequently viewed as a sleaze-filled maze of AAU coaches, shoe representatives, and assorted other hangers-on all looking for their own say in their chosen recruit's recruitment.
So it's no surprise that, as the Omaha World-Herald reports, the Big Ten is looking to stem the tide of similar issues in football that might arise out of 7-on-7 tournaments:
Pelini wasn't the only Big Ten representative to raise the specter of AAU hoops when discussing college football's problems. In fact, he wasn't even the only official from Nebraska to do so:
Clearly, the league's football coaches and administrators are not fans of the Amateur Athletic Union's basketball efforts.
But then again, who in college athletics is? While Jim Delany's efforts in the arena of "full cost of attendance" scholarships will likely meet with some resistance, if his conference can find a way to legislate college football away from big-time basketball's recruiting morass, no one will have an unkind word to say about that.
Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:57 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
In his Friday column, our CBS Sports colleague Tony Barnhart reported that SEC commissioner Mike Slive had told him the "full cost of attendance" scholarship plan recently championed by the Big Ten's Jim Delany was "something he would like to discuss."
But speaking to the Birmingham News's Jon Solomon over the weekend, Slive made it clear he'd like to do a lot more with those scholarships than just discuss them:
"I think we're to a point now in intercollegiate athletics where we have been very fortunate to have developed significant revenue streams," Slive said Friday. "A lot of our student-athletes have significant needs and it's one of those issues whose time has come" ...Those statements about the NCAA and their legislative emphasis on a "level playing field" echo those already made by Delany--statements not-so-subtly intended as a shot across the bow to small-school opponents who would block their plans to aid BCS conference athletes in the name of competitive equality.
Delany and Slive clearly understand that full cost scholarships (an item far too expensive for most non-BCS leagues) would drive the finanical wedge even further between D-I athletics' haves and have-nots ... and they just as clearly do not care where their conferences' "student-athlete welfare" (and, surely, the attendant competitive advantage) is concerned.
There are still major impediments to the Delany plan; Title IX may legally guarantee the same scholarship funds for all varsity athletes, not just those in revenue sports, and such a plan would have to be approved by a vote of the entire NCAA membership. (That Mark Emmert supports full cost scholarships would seem to be a big help in clearing the second hurdle.) But with such powerful backers as Delany, Slive, and the NCAA president, there seems little question this issue (and the potential FBS-shattering fallout) is going to get the "discussion" Slive wants sooner rather than later.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:46 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
It's still a long, long ways away before being put into practice. But if it is, a proposal currently being examined at the Big Ten's spring meetings could have seismic repercussions for major college football.
That proposal, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN's Brian Bennett, would increase the conference's full athletic scholarships to cover the "cost of full attendance"--not only tuition and room-and-board, but transportation, clothing, and other expenses. At approximately $3,000 per student-athlete per year, the additional cost for each league school would run into the hundreds of thousands.
But Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says (and Delany clearly agrees with him) that at the highest level of collegiate athletics, it's feasible all the same:
"The reality is that schools can afford it more than you realize," ... Smith said. "Just look at some of the television contracts that have come out recently" ...Delany's comments made it clear that while there remains "a long way between the talk and the action" on the proposal, he's not intending to abandon it just because the smaller schools of Division I might not be able to afford it:
"Forty years ago, you had a scholarship plus $15 a month laundry money," Delany said. "Today, you have the same scholarship, but not with the $15 laundry money.Delany (who has never exactly been shy about protecting his own conference's interests when they conflict with those of less affluent leagues) and Smith didn't shy away from the fact that the proposal's financial burden would be impossible for most conferences to carry. Assuming the Big Ten and their peers adopted it, the logical end result would be scholarships to BCS-level schools becoming some $15-20,000 more valuable over their four- or five-year duration than their non-BCS counterparts.
Thus the division between the "haves" and "have-nots" would widen even further, potentially to the point of a divisional split between the BCS and non-BCS conferences; revolutionary an idea as that might be, Smith (a former A.D. at Eastern Michigan) called it a "logical thought."
Because of that issues, expect there to be a torrent of angry pushback from smaller leagues if and when the Big Ten decides to follow through on the proposal. But when it aims to provide better living conditions for student-athletes -- and has the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert, as reported -- how much push will the non-BCS leagues really be able to muster? We may find out over the next few years, and the fate of college footbal las we currently know it could hang in the balance.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:14 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
That SEC standoff over oversigning we mentioned earlier this week? It's going to come to a head at the upcoming league meetings in Destin (Fla.), and it sounds as if if Mike Slive has his way, the conference is going to put some serious legislative brakes on the practice.
That news comes straight from Slive himself, who this week told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that a "package" of legislation aimed at regulating "roster management" would be on the table in Destin ... and that he's hopeful it passes:
"[I]t’s more than just the question of over-signing or grayshirting,” Slive said. “It’s a question of over-signing, grayshirting, early admissions, summer school admission. We’ve put together what we call a bit of a package to address these issues, that will give our people a chance to think about these issues in a more global fashion. So then it will be an important discussion item in Destin ...Whether he has a vote or not, that Slive will be pushing for reform should do plenty to boost the package's legislative chances.
It's not a surprise, though, that Slive is at the forefront of the issue. Whether fair or not, there's no debating that the SEC has become the representative face of oversigning thanks to the combination of oversized classes, high-profile grayshirting issues, and its prominence within college football. Already sensitive to accusations from the likes of the Big Ten's Jim Delany that the league doesn't take its classroom reponsibilities seriously enough, Slive must surely feel -- as the SEC's presidents must as well -- that the conference can't let the oversigning issue continue to stereotype it as a place where academic standards are trampled in the name of football.
Beyond that, Slive may also need to push the legislation through to prevent a full-on war of words between his conference's own coaches. When within a week of one making oversigning references to a rival coach so thinly veiled he can't even finish said reference without a fan spoiling it for him, another is straightforwardly exiling five players as part of a post-spring "scholarship evaluation," conflict is inevitable.
Slive should be commended for tackling the issue head-on. But if he can't get his proposed package through the voting process, he's going to have some serious damage control to do ... both in the public eye outside the league, and in the not-so-civil public discourse within it.
Posted on: May 18, 2011 9:01 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 9:04 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany found himself in Seattle last August, standing beside Michigan as they faced the NCAA Committee on Infractions for violations under former head coach Rich Rodriguez. However, it is not hard to figure out that the pressure on the conference is much more substantial as Ohio State prepares for their meeting with the COI on Aug. 12 in Indianapolis. Delaney spoke to AnnArbor.com at the Big Ten spring meetings on Tuesday, only mentioning that the Ohio State scandal has generated "a lot of interest," and not the positive kind of interest.
“It’s a difficult set of facts and a difficult circumstance,” Delany said. “In due respect, I think the facts are known and we have a hearing date and we’ll go to a hearing and we’ll answer the questions and present the case and the NCAA will make a determination. And that’s the juncture at which time you’ll be able to absorb sort of exactly what it means in the short and the long term.
“Right now, to me, it’s just talking about something well in advance.”
That difficult set of facts and circumstances are ones that leave very little room for reasonable doubt when it comes to Jim Tressel's negligence in reporting potential violations. Tressel has been present at the Big Ten meetings, but has not spoken with the media since his arrival. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is also present at the meetings, but he too has steered clear of the media. Since the NCAA sent their notice of allegations in April, the future of Ohio State football has been murky, at best, for Tressel and Co. I think if you Buckeye fans for their opinion on the situation, their response will likely be very similar to Delany.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 12:10 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last week the Department of Justice sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert and BCS executive Bill Hancock asking questions about the current BCS system, and implying that simply saying that the BCS doesn't violate federal anti-trust laws isn't good enough to prove that it doesn't. Which is a good indication that the Department of Justice is getting ready to find out for itself. Well, we've yet to hear from Emmert or Hancock on the matter, but Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany had no qualms talking about it to the USA Today.
According to Delany, the BCS has nothing to worry about.
"You never should be overconfident on legal matters. Like anything else, once they're in a courtroom or in front of a jury, you can't predict outcomes," Delany told the USA Today. "Having said that, we know what (the college football postseason once) was, and we know what is. And we know there was a thorough vetting of all antitrust issues at the beginning and during (the life of the BCS) because our presidents have always wanted to know the legal basis on which we operate.
"There's no judge or jury in the world that can make you enter into an four-team, eight-team or 16-team playoff."
Delany's point being that even if the DOJ were to break the BCS, conferences would go back to the old way of securing bowl contracts and not form a playoff system.
"I know at the end of the day that we've operated in total good faith. I know that (the postseason) is better than it was," Delany continued. "And if it can't go forward, it can't go forward. But I also know that we can't be enjoined, we can't be directed or forced into something we don't think is the right thing for us to do."
I'll agree with Delany in that the current bowl system is better than it used to be. Before we settled national championships on nothing but opinion, and at least now we get a championship game, even if many of us don't always agree with the way the opponents in that game are settled. Still, just because things get better, doesn't mean they can't be improved further.
And as we all know, the BCS could definitely use some improvement.