The Big Ten might become a D3 conference. That's right. Division III. The place without athletic scholarships. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing D3. I attended a D3 school and played a little D3 ball. I think D3 athletics are great. But I don't think St. Thomas is a worthwhile opponent for Ohio State in football either.
This is the part where you probably start pointing and laughing at me wondering why I went off the deep end and started making stuff up. But it's true. Just ask Jim Delany.
"...it has been my longstanding belief that The Big Ten's schools would forgo the revenues in those circumstances and instead take steps to downsize the scope, breadth and activity of their athletic programs," Delany wrote. "Several alternatives to a 'pay for play' model exist, such as the Division III model, which does not offer any athletics-based grants-in-aid, and, among others, a need-based financial model. These alternatives would, in my view, be more consistent with The Big Ten's philosophy that the educational and lifetime economic benefits associated with a university education are the appropriate quid pro quo for its student athletes."
So...yea. That's an actual thing he put into a legal document. For realsies. Darth Delany, the man behind the Big Ten Network, the man who told ESPN "consider them rolled", the guy who started the conference realignment craze to make all the schools rich beyond their wildest dreams...this same man is suggesting that B1G schools could move to D3 in sports if Ed O'Bannon wins his lawsuit against the NCAA.
As Andy Staples said in his CNNSI story...
But the actions of the Big Ten's presidents in the past few years make it difficult to believe they would follow the example of the Ivy League schools and Big Ten founding member the University of Chicago, which de-emphasized sports in the 1940s.
Or as Loretta from Sippin' On Purple put it on Twitter last night...
There is just so much wrong with this.
- First, it's never going to happen. It is a ludicrous threat. Donations at the schools would PLUMMET if this move was made. Alums would be outraged. To raise it as a serious consideration...I mean, Delany might as well stand on a beach and tell the tide not to come in.
- Second, it's insanely hypocritical. Delany started the dominoes falling in a way that has significantly altered the landscape of college sports in a bid to make B1G schools more money. He poo poo'd everyone who said this threatened to ruin college sports or take it too far into the realm of a big business. But the second the schools might have to share their piles of money with players the sanctity of college sport is in jeopardy? LOLWUT?
- The O'Bannon lawsuit...not to get to far off topic here, but honestly, the lawsuit seems to have a lot of merit. If you want more background you should go here to see SB Nation's stream about it. But essentially, the NCAA is getting sued because they make money off players likenesses. And there are a lot of emails and internal communications that indicate the NCAA staff and schools knew how shady this whole thing was. Which just makes Delany's stance even more ridiculous. He's offering up a totally implausible threat in defense of behavior and actions that the NCAA should be ashamed of.
So...here we are. Fans of a possible D3 team. What do you think about all of this? Is Delany just bluffing? Does any of this bug you or do you just feel like pointing and laughing? Are you ready for a new rivalry with St. Olaf?
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