Delany: Let players bypass college
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Wednesday that Division I football and basketball might be better served by following Major League Baseball's model, in that players are allowed to sign professionally right out of high school.
"Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks," Delany said. "If they're not comfortable and want to monetize, let the minor leagues flourish. Train at IMG, get agents to invest in your body, get agents to invest in your likeness and establish it on your own. But don't come here and say, 'We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000.' Go to the D-League and get it, go to the NBA and get it, go to the NFL and get it. Don't ask us what we've been doing.
"If an athlete wants to professionalize themselves, professionalize themselves. We've been training kids for professional sports. I argue it's the color, I argue it's the institution. If you think it's about you, then talk to John Havlicek about that, you've got to talk to Michael Jordan about that. These brands have been built over 100 years."
Delany said a restructuring plan in college sports must be in place by next spring to create better balance educationally and more options, including increasing the value of athletic scholarships. He said the major conferences need the "legislative autonomy" to push through some major changes.
If the major conferences don't reach a consensus, they should be criticized, Delany said.
"You don't have to play for the Redskins or the Bears at 17, but you could develop IMG," Delany said. "My gosh, there are lots of trainers out there. There are quarterback coaches teaching passing skills, guys lifting weights, guys training and running. They can get as strong and as fast in that environment as they can in this environment. Plus, they don't have to go to school. Plus, they can sell their likeness and do whatever they want to do. We don't want to do that. What we want to do is do what we've been doing for 100 years. ...
Maybe in football and basketball, it would work better if more kids had a chance to go directly into the professional ranks. ... But don't come here and say, 'We want to be paid $25,000 or $50,000.' Go to the D-League and get it, go to the NBA and get it, go to the NFL and get it.Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany
"I think we ought to work awful hard with the NFL and the NBA to create an opportunity for those folks. We have it in baseball, we have it in golf, works pretty good, we have it in golf, we have it in hockey. Why don't we have it in football, basketball? Why is it our job to be minor leagues for professional sports?"
Delany's comments came on the same day the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the IA Athletic Directors Association wrapped up their meetings in Dallas.
The athletic directors say they discussed topics ranging from NCAA governance and enforcement to the disparity of interests and resources among Division I schools to the rejection of "pay-for-play."
Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke said: "Pay for play has no part in the amateur setting."
Burke noted the value of a full scholarship and support services at Purdue is worth more than $250,000.
NCAA president Mark Emmert has endorsed making changes to the way the 351 Division I schools make rules governing college athletics.
Information from ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.