SBD/February 28, 2014/Colleges

Jim Delany Says Big Ten Does Not Want Additional Friday Night Football Games

Delany cited interference with high school games and more missed classes
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany on Thursday said that the conference is "not seeking to play more Friday night games, with the exception of the day after Thanksgiving," according to Teddy Greenstein of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Still, Friday night football games will continue "on Labor Day weekend, before some schools are in session." In addressing TV negotiations that are slated to begin next year, Delany said that the conference "is emphasizing increasing night games on Saturdays in November." Delany: "We're trying to enhance the (TV) package, but the notion that we're playing Friday nights -- I don't think it will happen while I'm here. There are much higher priorities." Delany, whose contract runs through June '18, said that he "took exception to a headline on Madison.com --- 'OK with Badgers football on Friday night?'" He said the headline "gave the impression that we're going to do it." Delany said that the three biggest obstacles to Friday night games are "interference with high school games, the potential of missed class time for players and whether campuses can handle a weekday crowd." Delany served as "guest speaker Thursday at a City Club of Chicago luncheon," and to "no surprise, given the proximity to Northwestern, the hot topic was unionization." He said, "The great thing about America is that people can have different opinions. And we don't shoot each other, we go to court. Whether they are students or employees and whether they should be paid ... we have a way to resolve that" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/28).

PAY FOR PLAY? The AP's Andrew Seligman noted Delany is "against the idea of pay for play, but he's not opposed to giving athletes more of a voice." Delany: "I think we need more seats at the table, for sure. And I think that we'll get that. I think that we'll get that as we restructure the NCAA. I feel certain that at institutes and conference and NCAA level, there will be more opportunity for points of view, and I hope to give them not only a voice but maybe a way to weigh in" (AP, 2/27).
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