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July 28, 2014

Jim Delany


COMMISSIONER DELANY:  Good afternoon.  It's nice to see everybody again.  I want to talk a little bit about some facts and numbers, a little bit about educational connection to Big Ten Conference, athletics and our football programs and also a little bit about our demonstrated capacity within the Big Ten and also with colleges around the country to manage dynamic change in the recent past and also going forward.
I want you to listen to some of these numbers.  You've heard them before, but I want to repeat them again because I think in many ways they describe a good part of our DNA.  We're an academic athletic association and the quantity, quality and scale of what we do is pretty much unprecedented in intercollegiate athletics today.  We have 14 world‑class research institutions.  We have a Big Ten Network that's in over 60 million homes nationally and 19 of the top 20 markets that's available globally, wherever high‑speed Internet exists.  We have over $10billion of federal research occurring on our campuses, which is greater than the Ivy and California system combined.
We have 5.7million alumni around the country.  We have over 520,000 undergraduate students.  And our schools produce almost 15percent of the Ph.D.s in the country.
We have 126 noble laureates, 235 members of college football Hall of Fame.  In the last six years, our current membership has won 46 national championships in 17 different sports, no fewer than seven and no more than ten, so that we're connected academically, we're connected athletically.  We have scale, size and quantity, quality.
And who do we support?  Who is this about?  We spend over $200million a year in direct financial aid to support 9500 men and women athletes on 350 collegiate teams in 42 different sports.  We sponsor 28 championships.  And then we have more than 10 million people attend our events in person, leading the nation in men's basketball, hockey, wrestling and volleyball.
Over time we produce over 1600 Academic All‑Americans.  And since we've been keeping track of graduation success rate and APR, the average APR in the Big Ten leads our peer group.  That's the FCS conference group in football, as well as many other sports and on average across the board.
And you've been to our campuses and our stadiums.  You've seen all of this firsthand, but it's obvious that what these institutions have been able to produce now and over time is the gold standard for integrating quality, educational outcomes, and nationally competitive athletics.
It's been an exciting and busy year for us.  I'd like to welcome our East Coast media outlets.  We spend a lot of time in the East Coast over the last year.
In addition to announcing Maryland and Rutgers two years ago, we've been busy building, making friends and building relationships.  And let me just mention a couple of those.  We added men's and women's lacrosse as a result of adding Johns Hopkins on the men's side and Maryland on the men's and women's side.
And we placed our first championships in the state of Maryland.  We also announced a relationship with the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.  We established offices in New York City and DC.  We've announced a special relationship with the Big East in the Gavitt Tipoff Games starting in November of '16.  We've established the 1917 Men's Basketball Tournament at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C.  And we've reached distribution agreements for the Big Ten Network in New York City, New Jersey, Maryland, and hopefully Washington D.C. in the near future.
So this is a new region for us, but we couldn't be pleased with the fit between Maryland and Rutgers and other Big Ten institutions.  They truly reflect in every way, as I mentioned earlier, on the academic and athletic commitment to their student‑athletes.
Leading up to the July 1 integration, we are particularly excited about the broad‑based participation by our presidents, our faculty, our athletic directors at the Big Ten Conference, staff, and BTN staff and a variety of activities up and down the East Coast.
We continue to work with these communities to become part of them, and we anticipate the opening games, conference games with Penn State at Rutgers on September13th and Maryland hosting Ohio State on October4.  Everybody's really excited about these.
Let me talk briefly about the academic reform agenda but only to reiterate the connection between intercollegiate athletics and education.
There's been a disconnect in some ways, but for us these things are inextricably linked.  We want to emphasize them today.  Our student‑athletes compete in football and many other sports, but this is part of their educational experience.
We've heard from several conferences about their willingness to support cost of education.  Why cost of education?  Because it's directly tied to education.  This is what the college model is about so that education and college athletics is part of the system.  It's not part of the system in AAU or Little League or seven‑on‑seven or professional sports, but it's fundamental to what it is we're trying to achieve.
About a year ago in this same building, at this same time, I spoke to the issue of cost of attendance.  What should we do if we were able to achieve restructuring and what should we do in order to advance the educational part of the intercollegiate athletic enterprise.
First issue, cost of education.  Why?  Because that's what it costs to go to college.
Year of readiness.  Why?  To ensure the student‑athletes are properly prepared academically before competing athletically.
Time demands.  Why?  To ensure that student‑athletes have enough time to be successful in the classroom and life including internships and study abroad.
Lifetime trust.  Why?  To ensure those who leave school early can finish their degree and come back anytime.  (Indiscernible) college sports and athletics there are.  There's some great students and there's some great athletes.  Some are more interested in academics than others.  But that doesn't change our mission, which is to make sure that the opportunity exists for a great education for all of our athletes.
So welcome.  It's our 119th football season coming up.  We've had 118 years of quality academics and athletics.  We're in a very dynamic period of change and transformation.  And I couldn't feel better about my colleagues in the Big Ten, from presidents to athletic directors, to coaches, as well as the leaders in other conferences around the country who I think have spent time and effort, not only to restructure and reform but also are focused in on a variety of challenges, from the college football playoff to NCAA restructuring, to student‑athlete reform agenda.
If you take a close look at the June24 presidentially drafted Big Ten Statement of Presidents, you can see fairly clearly our athletic directors, our coaches and our presidents and our faculty are all in the same place.  They want education to be fundamentally integrated with their athletic experience.
Before I take questions, I'd like to briefly touch on bowl games and college playoffs, both of which are having some changes this year.
On the Bowl side, we've experienced Bowl (indiscernible) for over 20 years, and it's pretty straightforward.  Bowls made selections, and our teams went and played and had great experiences in different parts of the country.
Going forward, Bowls will make selections and the conference will make approvals.  We're doing this to make sure that our athletes, our coaches, our teams and our fan bases have diverse experiences over a period of time.
We couldn't be more pleased with the Bowl arrangements we have in San Francisco, Pasadena, San Diego, Texas, Fort Worth, Dallas, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, New York, Detroit.  So we're looking forward to that.  We want to continue to grow these games and provide postseason opportunities in addition to the college football playoff.
They did a good job of outlining what the College Football Playoff Committee will be looking for, and what we've tried to do is structure our conference schedule and our scheduling to deliver an opportunity for our teams if they're successful.  We make no predictions.  We make no excuses.  We will play one major intersectional game, nine conference games, a championship in all games against football Bowl championship teams.
So if you want to remember what we're trying to achieve, think strength of schedule, 1910.  One intersectional game, nine conference games, one championship, and no games outside of FBS.
So we're looking forward to competing this year.  We're looking forward to making progress in the reform agenda.  And at this point, I welcome your questions.
THE MODERATOR:  Questions?

Q.  (Question regarding congressmen and letter.)
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  I'm not familiar with that letter.  I wasn't copied on it.  This is the first I heard of it.  What I would tell you is that the leadership over the last three years, two years, I guess, by President Erickson and Dave Joyner and Coach O'Brien really met the challenge as far as we were concerned.  We are a partner in an integrity agreement among and between the Big Ten, Penn State and NCAA.  We've worked really closely with Senator Mitchell and have fully supported the recommendations as this has played out.
So I'm unfamiliar with that.  I hope that if progress continues to be made, that the NCAA would look positively on any requests that is suggested by Senator Mitchell.  We'll definitely follow his lead on it.
And I'll look forward to getting a copy of that letter and learning more about the request.

Q.  (Indiscernible) briefly expressed an opinion (indiscernible) and their NCAA enforcement issues.  What are your thoughts?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  First, Bob's a good friend and he's been a great leader not only at Iowa and Stanford but now at the Big 12.
I have made comments from time to time about NCAA enforcement.  It's an area where I started my career, and it's fairly clear to me that the conferences have to get together, have to find a mechanism or a process that serves our needs.
I've used the word "overmatched."  I haven't really gone much beyond that.  I don't intend to today.
But my hope is over the next year to 18 months, the major conferences can come together and will find ways and processes and procedures that fit with what we're trying to achieve, which is a level of deterrence, a level of compliance, and a level of punishment that is earned.
So we need a system.  We need regulations.  And we need a system that works.  I think that there's no doubt that NCAA enforcement has struggled over the last couple of years, and I take a personal interest and have a personal desire to work with Bob and Mike, Larry and John to see what the right balance is.
Bob was a little more colorful in his language, but I will keep my words where they are right now.

Q.  Mr. Bowlsby also indicated that he thought all men's sports beyond football and basketball could be (indiscernible).  Do you see (indiscernible) football and basketball only (indiscernible)?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  My crystal ball in that area is not great.  We have challenges.  I put them into kind of three categories.  One is we have asked for restructuring, and now we need to reform.  And I've suggested some ideas, and I know my colleagues have as well.
We have litigation, a lot of it.  And I think people have the right to pursue what they feel is proper in the courts, and I think that people have the right to defend themselves, and I think we'll be aggressive in defending principle where we think that's appropriate.
I don't know where it all ends up.  It may be a number of years before it becomes clear.  Congress has also from time to time ‑‑ there have been two hearings, but from time to time have questions for people in higher education and in collegiate athletics.  We ought to be available and open and responsive.
I certainly hope that when the dust settles there will be a wide array of educational and athletic opportunities for men and women.  It's hard to predict.  For many, many, many years, it was a system that didn't always support men and women in an equal or comparable basis.
We've built that.  In many ways we can improve on that balance.  I hope we do that.  And I hope at the end of the day the courts will support us in achieving that, because I think it's‑‑ college sports is a great American tradition.
It's not perfect.  It's not a perfect enterprise.  There's not a perfect enterprise I think that exists.  But we can improve it.  We should.  I hope when the smoke settles and clears a bit, there will be lots of opportunities for lots of young people across a myriad of college institutions in America.

Q.  (Indiscernible) play out, but do you (indiscernible)?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  I don't, simply because during my tenure, I think we've had seven or eight different teams play in BCS‑quality games, we've have nine different teams play in the Rose Bowl.  I've seen the strength of teams ebb and flow over time.  The SEC has been doing their divisions for 22 or ‑3 years, and for a long time the East was dominant, then the West was dominant.
I think these things ebb and flow.  Northwestern has been to a Rose Bowl.  Wisconsin went to three or four in a row.  Nebraska has won National Championships.  Iowa has played in very big games.  Illinois has played in Rose Bowls and other major Bowls.
And when I think about‑‑ when I think about historic balance, I think that the teams will play out based on the quality of the players and quality of the coaches.  And I'm not worried about that part of it.

Q.  There was a report out yesterday about the possibility of a neutral site game in New York and Washington (indiscernible) Maryland and Rutgers.  I was wondering if you had any thoughts on that.
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  I really don't have any knowledge of that.  We had Indiana play I think it was Penn State in Baltimore a number of years ago.  And I know Penn State has been very well received (indiscernible) MetLife Stadium against Syracuse last year.  If those are local games for Maryland and Rutgers, it will be their call as to where they're playing.  Under our rules the home team could do that, if the visiting team was willing to do that.
So I'm not familiar with it.  I just came from a meeting with the athletic directors.  We were talking a lot about schedules, but that didn't come up.  And like the letter from the five congressmen, that's news to me.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  I don't think there's anything that's inevitable.  I think that the first thing I would say is that it happened at Northwestern.  I think it was surprising, but probably not shocking.  And it will get resolved there pursuant to the law and pursuant to the desires of the players.
Whether or not it's got legs in other places around the country, it's hard to predict or project.  I would say even at the outset that, for the most part, these matters of labor are really a state‑by‑state issue, especially for public institutions, and whatever happened at Northwestern is really more relevant I think to the Stanfords and the Vanderbilts and state institutions.
So it certainly was interesting and surprising, but again not shocking given the world we live in.  It's so dynamic.  And we're interested to see, again, the thing go through the process that we have in our country, which is a process of law and dispute resolution, which is fair and reasonable, and we'll work with whatever outcomes are there.  And as it goes through, we'll present our position in a vigorous way.

Q.  (Question regarding proposed governance model.)
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  Yes, yes, and I don't know.

Q.  Do you care to expound on that?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  Yeah, I think it will pass, and I think that the list of autonomous issues will be sufficient.  And if it doesn't, I really don't know what we would do except probably have some conversations in each of our conferences and come back, huddle up and see what the next steps are.
But I do anticipate that it will pass.  I do anticipate that it will capture the autonomy issues that are important to us for assisting our student‑athlete in the 21st century in a way that makes sense.
And I would be very surprised if it doesn't pass.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  First of all, I think that there are FCS teams that have proven their mettle.  I can think of one game in the Big Ten‑‑ that was the first game broadcast by BTN ‑‑ that was quite a shocker and reflected well on Appalachian State.  I know that Furman has won big games, Georgia Southern.
There are selective teams.  But the bottom line is that FBS schools have 85 scholarships.  FCS has 63 scholarships.  The college playoff entity has signaled to us in a policy statement approved by commissioners and presidents that they are looking for the four best teams in the country and that they're going to make that determination on the basis of the quality of your schedule, the strength of your schedule, winning championships head to head, and games against comparable opponents.
So as we listen to that, you know, we don't think so much about budgets as we think about how to position our teams if they're successful for selection into that competition because now that's the structure we have.
And as we thought about it‑‑ and I'm not talking about me, I'm talking about us, the athletic directors‑‑ you know, we've set on this 1910 model, one intersectional, nine conference, one championship, and no games outside of FBS.
Is that immutable?  No.  The athletic directors could come together at any time and make a change.  But I don't expect that to happen in the near term.  And if it did, I would think it would be in the direction of even stronger standards and guidelines, not more watered‑down standards or guidelines.
So we don't have any predictions.  We don't have any excuses.  We're simply trying to put our teams into the best possible environment to be successful, and we think that is by encouraging them to play the strongest set of opponents.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
COMMISSIONER DELANY:  We had spent a lot of time in preparation for those negotiations.  They haven't started.  We don't anticipate that they would start in any immediate way.
We have been able to integrate Rutgers and Maryland into BTN and ESPN, as well get distributions.  So we've been very busy over the last year in the television area to go from a 12‑university conference to 14 and to make that seamless from a television perspective.  Very pleased to get the distribution out East.
As far as what might the future hold on TV, it's hard to predict.  We are in probably the most dynamic and robust television marketplace when you read about the consolidation of companies with proposed consolidation.  When you think about how interested people are in sports and television and how it's sort of DVR‑proof, we're confident but not overconfident, and we've done a lot of work to prepare for that time when it comes.  And it's really difficult to speculate on whether it would be a single network or multiple networks.
We're looking forward to getting out into that marketplace, but for now we don't know exactly when that will happen nor do we know exactly who that will entail at the end of the day.
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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