Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney was the last speaker today at Big Ten media days. Here are some of the highlights.
- On adding Nebraska to the conference so soon in the 12-18 month time frame: "A lot of people wanted to know why we couldn't get it done faster. In fact, we went faster than we thought we were going to go because Nebraska had some decisions it had to make which required us to make some decisions that we were prepared to make but quite honestly I thought it would happen in a slightly later time frame.'
- Delaney said the league is now pausing its expansion for now for the sake of helping Nebraska but that "we are not necessarily turning our backs on expansion."
- The league's athletic directors are meeting in Chicago now to discuss schedules, championship games and divisions among other things. Delaney expects a championship venue and network contract for the game as well as a new logo to come out in the next few weeks.
- Big Ten is working with the NFL on concussions and rules on defenseless players.
- Expects divisional structure to be announced in the next "30-45 days"
- Waxed poetic about the Ohio State-Michigan game (zzzzzzz......). Said it is a "principle" to preserve traditional rivalries as much as possible. "We're going to go to great lengths to make sure that the tradition and the rivalries are respected.
- Stressed the importance of a 9th conference game so teams in the league play each other as much as possible.
- Repeated competitive balance, traditional rivalries, and geographic concerns as the biggest factors in divisional setup. Said competitive balance will be evaluated since 1993 when Penn State joined the league and scholarship numbers were expanded.
- On topic of conference championship venue: "I'm not sure whether in the next 90-120 days we're going to have the time to do what I would describe as a fair do diligence to visit a half dozen venues. One of the thoughts that I've had is whether or not I would go to our athletic directors and presidents is say something like 'With all that we have on our plate today would we be wise to identify a site for one year? Do a good, solid, arm-length contract, let us get it done, and then this spring go out and spend more time with more venues and more cities, both with respect to the men's basketball tournament and the football championship game.' I just think that the selection, the philosophy and the economics around a championship venue may require more focused energy than we have right at this moment."
- Both indoor and outdoor venues are in play for championship game.
- Doesn't believe divisions make sense for men's and women's basketball, but could see some divisional setup for some of the non-rev sports either the same or different from the football divisions.
- "The Big Ten is the Big Ten regardless of the number."
- Had good things to say about Big XII Commissioner Dan Beebe, and praised his efforts to keep his league together. Says the two are friends and he is proud of Beebe's representation of his member schools.
- Does not see Notre Dame as a player in future expansion. "I think [ND AD] Jack Swarbrick has been consistent from the beginning about their committment to the Big East and being independent...I take, at face value, Jack's statements in that regard."
- Ohio State and Michigan could be in separate divisions.
Take that all for what you will.