Delany Says Big Ten Hoops Tourney Will Rotate To Accommodate Midwest, Eastern Regions
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said that while there are "no agreements in place" beyond '17 to hold the Big Ten men's basketball tournament at DC's Verizon Center, he "expects the tournament to return to the Midwest," according to Matt Charboneau of the DETROIT NEWS. The announcement of the '17 tourney site was the "next step in a significant eastern migration" for the Big Ten. Delany said, "I don't know the precise rotation, but I can tell you it will be here regularly over the coming decades." While Delany said that he "understood the resistance to change, he pointed out many of the recent changes to the conference have been very successful," including the creation of the Big Ten Network. Delany: "We have some distribution in the East and hopefully we will have complete integration in the East in the coming months" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/7).
MORE THAN DIMES: Indiana AD Fred Glass said that he "understands and sympathizes with the concerns of fans who don't want the event moved from the Midwest." But Glass also knows the "economic realities involved." He said that it would "be a mistake ... to bring Rutgers and Maryland into the conference and believe that alone would help extend the Big Ten's brand eastward" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 5/7). In Michigan, Graham Couch writes the tourney's move to DC is "absurd -- as are most decisions in major college athletics these day" -- but it also is "smart business." This "isn't about your experience or convenience on a weekend in early March." This is "about your athletic program sustaining itself and competing financially." It is a "raw deal on Long Island, but good news in Rock Island, where fans of Illinois and Iowa can more realistically expect their athletic programs to compete financially with the big boys of college sports." This is about "lasting and increasing financial liability," and there is "nothing wrong with that." Couch: "Just say it, though, and lose the hyperbole about the alumni bases and all those Big Ten fans in Brooklyn" (LANSING STATE JOURNAL, 5/7). In Indianapolis, Zach Osterman wrote, "Decry the Big Ten's expansion beyond its Midwest roots and praise Indianapolis as an outstanding host for the men's basketball conference tournament, and other events like it." But "just remember that's also what's paying the bills" (INDYSTAR.com, 5/6).
TOO MUCH TOO SOON? In Chicago, Herb Gould writes under the header, "Big Ten Makes Big Mistake With DC Tourney." Gould: "I’m not thinking about building the fan base on the East Coast at the expense of people who have called the Big Ten home for generations. I’m thinking about students from Champaign or Madison -- heck, alumni from Minneapolis or Chicago -- who aren’t going to DC for the tournament." People "leave conference tournaments when their team loses," and they "find a way to get there when their team advances." Gould: "Unless they’re 800 or 1,000 miles away." There is "no question, though, that in a vote for greatest college commissioner of all-time, Jim Delany would be an easy choice." But all these "machinations might not be the best thing for old-school Big Ten people" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/7).
CHANGES BIG & SMALL: USA TODAY's Nicole Auerbach conducted a Q&A with Delany, addressing issues facing the Big Ten as well as the NCAA. Asked if there were plans to move the conference's football championship game East, Delany said, "I think we're going to keep it central. It's too hard. ... Out of respect and common sense, you don't want to move it to a place where 100% of the people that are involved are going to have to come from someplace else." Delany was asked if anything could happen during NCAA restructuring talks that would lead to the five football power conferences to break away from the governing body. He said, "I don't know what their reaction would be if we got an incomplete package, because we started off wanting to be inside a big tent." Delany: "It's painfully obvious it's not all a level playing field, and that a lot of the level playing field philosophy is under attack. I would rather have us change it than have it not change for us." Delany said of additional Big 10 expansion, "If you're thinking of building a conference and keeping tradition alive, building fan bases and natural rivalries, movement beyond where we are probably needs to be looked at in a very suspicious kind of way. You dilute yourself the larger you get" (USA TODAY, 5/7).