July 28, 2011

Rules violations take center stage in Big Ten

MORE: Media days coverage archive

CHICAGO -- Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany admitted Thursday he is disappointed that some of his schools have run afoul of NCAA rules.

Before meeting with the media at Thursday's Big Ten Media Days event, Delany met privately with the league's coaches to discuss a number of topics. Chief among those was a need to play by the rules.

"I wanted to call them together ... and speak to them candidly and from the heart, explain to them that in many ways the game is as healthy as it's ever been, but also in my view that we have as a conference been hurt by the two institutions that have been involved in NCAA allegations and findings," Delany said.

Ohio State will meet with the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12 to learn its fate following violations committed by players that ultimately cost coach Jim Tressel - whom Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio called a "tragic hero" - his job and also pushed star quarterback Terrelle Pryor out of school a year early.

Last year, Michigan's program was slapped with NCAA sanctions for the first time in history.

Delany's message: Enough is enough. He called the episodes "embarrassing."

"It not only reflects poorly on them, it reflects poorly on us," he said. "We've had two of them in this conference, and that's two too many."

The coaches seem to have gotten the message.

"Let's face it, I don't live with my head in the sand," Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. "In this day and age, we all understand that's the way it works. We're under the microscope all the time. You have to be on guard all the time. You have to make sure you do things the right way so your institution doesn't fall into that category."

Delany also appeared to be in lock-step with comments SEC commissioner Mike Slive made at his league's media gathering last week. Slive proposed an "agenda for change" that looked at four areas: redefining benefits for players, strengthening academic standards for incoming players, updating recruiting rules and supporting the NCAA's effort to improve enforcement.

"There's nothing that I really disagreed with," Delany said. "There were a few things I would have added.

"Now is not the time for competition between other conferences when it comes to NCAA reform. It's going to be a challenge. All we can do is to come together. It's a real challenge for presidential leadership."

Delany and Slive arguably are the two most powerful administrators in college athletics; if they decide on a united front in terms of making changes, things will get changed.

Another hot topic has become the televising of high school football games. Recent talk that the soon-to-be-launched Longhorn Network would televise Texas prep games has drawn the ire of many in Big 12 territory, who say it would give Texas an unfair recruiting advantage. Delany appears to agree.

"It's not time to engage in televising high school sports," Delany said. "It was not created to telecast high school sports."

Delany commented on numerous other topics, as well.

On paying athletes: "Anything more than the cost of education, we have no interest."

On the BCS: "That's not going to change any time soon."

On TV bans: "I wouldn't be opposed to reinstatement of TV bans as NCAA punishment."

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.


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