Delany confident of change

Delany confident of change

CHICAGO — Jim Delany didn’t mince words.

The Big Tencommissioner, along with conference commissioners from the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, will eagerly await the Aug. 7 vote by the NCAA about a new governance model. The plan is for schools in those power five conferences to have more authority about possible rules and changes they want to see happen. 

Will the vote pass?

“Yes,” Delany said.

Will the measure include enough autonomy to suit the major conferences?

“Yes,” Delany said.

If the measure doesn’t pass, what’s next?

“I don’t know,” Delany said.

Delany’s rapid-fire answers to the main issue surrounding the future of the haves and have-nots in college athletics drew the only chuckle of his nearly 30-minute session with the media on Monday afternoon at the Chicago Hilton. 

“I think the list of autonomous issues will be sufficient,” Delany said. “If it doesn’t (pass), I really don’t know what we can do except probably have some conversations with each of our conferences, come back and huddle up and see what our next steps are. 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.”

Delany didn’t create a stir like Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby did last week when Bowlsby questioned how effective NCAA enforcement was. Bowlsby went so far as to say “cheating pays,” and the current system the NCAA uses is broken.

“I thought Bob was a little bit more colorful with his language,” Delany said. “My hope is that over the next year to 18 months is the major conferences can come together. We can 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. We need a system that works. I think there’s no doubt that NCAA enforcement has struggled over the years.”

Delany said he was surprised, but not shocked, about the unionization talks that materialized at Northwestern this offseason. He wouldn’t speculate whether unions could catch on at other college football programs. 

“Whether or not it’s got legs in other places around the country, it’s hard to predict,” Delany said. “I would say that, even at the onset, these matters of labor are really a state-by-state issue, especially for public institutions.