Thursday, October 11, 2018

The college basketball corruption trial dominated Delany's annual address at Big Ten media day

Photo Credit: Robin Alam- Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

By: Geno Green
Twitter @TheGenoGreen

ROSEMONT, Ill.— With the college basketball season around the corner, commissioner Jim Delany addressed numerous topics at Thursday’s Big Ten media day at the Hyatt Place O’Hare.

The ongoing college basketball corruption trial dominated the conversation and Delany recognized how it could leave a black eye on the sport.

“There are storm clouds of a significant magnitude. We have 300-plus Division I institutions and have a thousand players that are being recruited every year,” Delany said. “While these are isolated, these can’t be dismissed. There are hundreds of players who have been recruited properly and are clean do things the right way. We have a rule of law and due process. People will and have been charged and have their day in court.”

The debate as to whether players should be paid or not has been discussed for the better part of this decade. Delany addressed how some of the boosters have gotten to some of the freshmen and high school players in terms of improper benefits.

“We are in a business for creating opportunities for all ethnicities— we have $200 million in financial aid, 300 teams and 28 championships and there is a problem in certain parts of our sports programs. It is not a new black market because it was there in the 1970’s. I spent five years as an NCAA investigator in the seventies as it was a different problem then as a booster problem, but now it is more corporate.”

The Big Ten will be the first conference in Division I to utilize a 20-game schedule with Purdue-Indiana, Illinois-Northwestern and Michigan-Michigan State designated as rivalry games in which they will play twice on a yearly basis.

Despite the expanded schedule, the Big Ten will continue to open play between the last week of November and the first week of December with each team playing two games each. Even with college football playing its conference championships in the same period, Delany sees the potential in having bigger games featured and being able to get some of the spotlight.

“College football is incredibly popular and has grown in an amazing way,” Delany said. “We have to find ways to present basketball and should not give up November and December as we will try to have more meaningful games early. We want to present college basketball through our partners in a way we have cooperation through our coaches and will be good for us long-term.”

After moving up a week to play at Madison Square Garden in New York City last season, the Big Ten Tournament returns to their traditional championship week slot as the United Center in Chicago will host the event from March 13-17, 2019.

The next four seasons will see the tournament alternate from Chicago and Indianapolis, but Delany sees the possibility of other Midwestern cities, such as Detroit hosting in the future.

“After we have a plan after the four-year run, I think it will be open and more competitive. There will be other opportunities for other cities to express interest,” Delany said.