Big Ten Unlikely To Expand Friday Night Football
CHICAGO (AP) — Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said Thursday that the league is not looking to schedule more Friday football games, except on Thanksgiving and Labor Day weekends.
“Beyond that, I don’t think while I’m around here you’re going to see Friday night games,” he said. “Down the road? Who knows?”
There are other questions hanging over Delany and the rest of the college athletics.
Former Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and the United Steelworkers recently announced plans to form the first labor union for college athletes. Hearings before the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago to determine if they are employees by federal law concluded this week. A ruling in their favor would allow them to organize.
The group is seeking a greater say in matters such as improving safety and ensuring that scholarships cover living expenses as well as tuition.
“Everybody’s sensitive to the points that are being made,” Delany said. “It’s unchartered territory. It reminds me a lot of 1968 because you’ve got traditions that are 100 years old that are being challenged, and I think in some cases, some of the challenges are proper. For me the time, the number of games, are issues.”
Delany is against the idea of pay for play, but he’s not opposed to giving athletes more of a voice.
“I think we need more seats at the table, for sure,” he said. “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.”
He said a victory by the players would mean the NCAA would likely seek “guidance from Congress” before knowing what college athletics would look like.
“Somebody with a clear crystal ball would have to describe what it might look like,” Delany said. “I think there would have to be some congressional understanding of how these laws relate to anti-trust and how it would relate to Title IX and laws that relate to funding and whether a person is somebody that could be employable. … It doesn’t seem to me an easy and smooth response.”
But, he added, “at the end of the day, we respect the individuals, we respect the system. Ultimately, it will evolve.”
Delany, who gave a speech at the City Club of Chicago, also was asked about new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s desire to change the so-called “one and done” rule and push the league’s age minimum to 20.
Delany said he sees no problem with players leaving school early or turning pro after high school.
“I don’t think the ‘one and done’ has been good,” he said. “I don’t know that the NFL’s (requirement that players be three years removed from high school) has been good. I don’t know that the major league baseball rule is good. I wish that we could recruit students who want to go to college — and stay in college. If they want to leave, I think there should be a clear path to leave. There should be choice.”
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