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

 



JOHN HUNT: Still Finding Reasons To Be Grateful

It’s hard to believe that we’re to the final Thursday in November when most folks in the free world celebrate Thanksgiving.   My how time flies when you’re having fun. I used to always enjoy reading Roy Exum’s columns on Thanksgiving  when he took a little time to recognize people and to give thanks for all of the wonderful things in his life. Following his ... (click for more)

Fast Break's Alan Outlaw Still Looking For Sub-2:40 Marathon

Alan Outlaw didn’t exactly set the world on fire with his high school running career, but he’s gotten faster and faster since then. Outlaw is that 37-year-old co-owner of Fast Break Athletics who graduated from East Ridge in 1996.   He played basketball for several years until finally dedicating his time and effort to track and cross country. He was the number-one ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)