Commish sought unprecedented power

July 20, 2012, 5:43 am
Share This Post

The Big 10 Conference is doing some odd things these days. Then again, the place is being run by the perpetually charming Jim Il-Sung, so expecting anything other than odd is a fools prayer.It seems Jim . . . er, commissioner Jim Delany has put in his resume to be all 11 university presidents at the same time, and we didnt even know the jobs were open.I mean, even Penn State has a president, and their administration building is infested with tumbleweeds.It was one thing, albeit a stupid and self-aggrandizing thing, when he asked for expanded powers to fire any coach he deemed unworthy or dangerous or capable of jeopardizing a revenue stream somewhere.But now, courtesy Brad Wolverton of the Chronicle of Higher Education, a plan to grant him the power to help hire coaches as well was apparently beaten back when someone noticed that nobody should be allowed to have 11 leather chairs in one office.Maybe Delany is the sort who just gives and gives. Maybe he sees flaws in the way coaches are vetted, hired, compensated and kept on. Maybe he just wants to make things better. Indeed, any number of possibilities are in play here.But if it is true, and Delany really wanted to run the Big 10 Conference from the ground up, well, somewhere Roger Goodell weeps for his lack of ambition.You see, people who want to make things better for everyone at once with one centrally emitted vision are typically called control freaks, and power-grabbers, and tend to spend their spare time watching people back away from them slowly.Now he did have some people who thought him taking a more active role in firing miscreants might actually improve the operation of the conference, although even that was stretching the limits of power extraordinary lengths.But the hiring thing is so bizarre, so Alexander Haig on crank, that it staggers logic. That is, until you remember that college sports is about two things money, and the power to grab it. Delany has been very good at generating money for his clients, but the power to shape the national conference landscape seems to have become insufficient. Power, meet absolute power, and see if you can remember the verb that links those two concepts.Ultimately, Delanys plan to become the emperor of the upper Midwest failed because his discussions never led to anything. Someone figured out that power is finite, and when one person gets power, it comes from someone else. The identity of the person who put the kill shot on the proposal is not mentioned in Wolvertons story, but nothing makes a powerful persons antennae quiver quite like someone else seeking power.So Delany didnt get his dream jobs, at least not yet. But nothing is less permanent than college sports, and hey, you never know when 11 people in business suits might quit their jobs all at once. The saving in health benefits alone might some day make Delanys idea a reality.

More Team Talk