Randy Smith: Big Ten’s Delaney Paints Bleak Picture

Monday, June 23, 2014 - by Randy
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Jim Delaney, the longtime commissioner of the Big Ten Conference said this week that if college athletes are paid for their services, the Big Ten would likely cease to exist, and the Rose Bowl would not be played. Delaney’s remarks came on the witness stand in Oakland, California as lawyers argue the suit brought forth by former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon.

O’Bannon’s landmark suit claims that athletes should be paid for the use of their names and likeness on television and in video games. The NCAA has countered that if O’Bannon wins the lawsuit, college sports would be thrown into turmoil. Delaney stated that college sports would be severely damaged if a century old tradition is breached by payments to athletes. (Which tradition is he speaking of?  Perhaps the one where NCAA officials and other people in college sports line their pockets with the billions of dollars generated by these young men and women?)

“These games are owned by the institutions, and the notion of paying athletes for their participation in these games is foreign to the notion of amateurism,” Delaney said.

Delaney went on to say that the Big Ten gets hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from its sports, with each school getting around $25 million as their share. Delaney also said most of that money goes into programs and academics. (Programs is a very vague area) While under cross examination, Delaney was asked how much of the $230 million in broadcast rights and from the Big Ten Network goes to the athletes? Delaney replied, “There is no share of broadcast rights.”

Ed O’Bannon hopes to change all that with a win in his lawsuit. He hopes that all college athletes who have ever had their images, names or numbers displayed on video games will get together and sell the rights to use those images, with payments being made to the athletes when they leave school. (So much for violating amateurism)

I have an idea; let the schools pay their athletes a specified amount when and if they finish school and get a degree. No diploma, no paycheck...simple as that. That could be the biggest reason yet to keep up their grade point averages and stay eligible. That sounds simple and it is, but you can bet the farm that even if Judge Claudia Wilken rules in favor of  Ed O’Bannon, the NCAA will appeal, and appeal again, and appeal again; all the way to the Supreme Court. This will be tied up for years in the courts, with the only ones getting rich being the lawyers.

Something has to give. There is too much money being made on big-time college sports, and the college athletes deserve to get something, even if it’s a weekly stipend for date money and for extra food. Do I think college athletes should get rich? No…but I have been a proponent for years to give them something. Being in college is hard enough and when you add in twenty to thirty hours a week to play a varsity sport, you have little time for anything else. Playing a college sport is like having a part-time job in addition to getting your school work.

There are a couple of things you can be sure of. First, the NCAA will fight any movement to pay athletes tooth and nail. Secondly, while this thing works its way through the court system, the NCAA will get richer and so will the big-time athletic conferences...and that’s a downright shame.

-----

Randy Smith has been covering sports on radio, television and print for the past 45 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has written two books, and has continued to free-lance as a play-by-play announcer. He is currently teaching Broadcasting at Coahulla Creek High School near Dalton, Ga.

His career has included a 17-year stretch as host of the Kickoff Call In Show on the University of Tennessee’s prestigious Vol Network. He has been a member of the Vol Network staff for thirty years.

He has done play-by-play on ESPN, ESPN II, CSS, and Fox SportSouth, totaling more than 500 games, and served as a well-known sports anchor on Chattanooga Television for more than a quarter-century.

In 2003, he became the first television broadcaster to be inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame. Randy and his wife Shelia reside in Hixson. They have two married children, (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith.) They have three grandchildren, Coleman, Boone and DellaMae.

To contact Randy: rsmithsports@epbfi.com

 



Randy Smith: A Few Things Overheard In The Man Cave

When my family gathers to watch college football in my man cave, it's never the same as it was the week before. I've decided to list a few of the comments I overheard this past  Saturday  as Tennessee faced Florida. Keep in mind, this game more than any other draws out all the possible emotions known to mankind for a four hour period. Also keep in mind that a few of ... (click for more)

Moc Golfers 13th At Maui Jim Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team finished 13th after a final round 296 today in the Maui Jim Intercollegiate. The Mocs shot a season-low 876 at Mirabel Golf Club to finish one ahead of Notre Dame in 14th. Senior Brooks Thomas led the team with a career-best 1-under 212 total. That included 73 today on the par 71 tract tying for 22nd. “I’m really proud of Brooks,” coach ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday, asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood.  ... (click for more)

Boy In Critical Condition; Another Person Stabbed And Man Shot In Dispute At Apartments On Citico Avenue

A boy is in critical condition after being stabbed on Sunday afternoon in what police described as a dispute between neighbors. One other person was stabbed and a man was shot in the stomach in the melee in the 2700 block of Citico Avenue. The injuries to the second person stabbed in the neck and the shooting victim were said to be not life-threatening. The 12:45 p.m. incident ... (click for more)

Patrol Cars Donation To Kevin Muhammad's Nation Of Islam Sets A Dangerous Precedent

Re: City Police donating two patrol cars to Kevin Muhammad's Nation of Islam: While I know it's unpopular to mention the wisdom of separation of church and state, this sets a dangerous precedent and should meet with concern from everyone who values religious and secular freedom. What's next? Southern Baptists getting old city parking scooters to patrol church parking lots ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Pitch Called ‘The Defector’

When Jose Fernandez was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident, he was 24 years old yet had already lived a life much larger than almost all old men. He had spent part of a year in an unimaginably cruel Cuban prison, this when he only 14 years old and sandwiched in an inhumane cell among grown criminals. There were murders daily – in his very cell -- and nobody cared. ... (click for more)