Jim's biggest accomplishment while in his current role was the creation of the Big Ten Network. This cable channel brings hundred of millions of dollars to the Big Ten each year. I'm guessing each school loves the time of year, when they get that huge BTN check. Nearly 25% of all US households get the BTN.
He has also negotiated huge deals with ESPN and CBS for college basketball.
He expanded the Big Ten with Penn State and Nebraska. Both have been a success. (There are some reports out there that Nebraska might be looking to move back to the Big 12 as they feel their brand has not grown in the crowded Big Ten).
Jim was also instrumental in getting instant replay review for college football.
Those are just a few of Jim's success in his role. Now let's address why he should retire.
First off, the only thing you should do for 27 years is breathe. I don't know how you can be an effective leader in these times, being in a role for that long. Sure you can add smart people to your staff, but at this point you have to be just a figure head. I think we have seen a very public Big Ten failure at a school with a coach leading a football program way too long.
- I'm not going to go over the officials at the OSU - Michigan game again, but Jim clearly not addressing it in any fashion is a clear lack of leadership and being completely tone deaf.
- BTN is going to have trouble moving forward. Cable cord cutting is happening at an incredible rate. ESPN in October and November lost over 1M subscribers, Disney is considering selling ESPN as it's losing money on a daily basis. It's estimated that if that rate continues ESPN will lose 7 Million subscribers next year. Sports is the most expensive part of cable TV and I expect BTN would be cut as quickly as ESPN. Get ready for those BTN checks to take a massive hit over the next few years. (on a side note, there is a ton of talk about Gruden taking over the LA Rams. Do you think the EPSN/Disney executives would love for him to take that job? It's reported Gruden is the highest paid employee at ESPN at $7M a year)
- The addition of Maryland and Rutgers has not had a positive effect on the conference. Both schools were losing money out of their athletic departments and running way in the red. When Jim came knocking they both jumped at a chance to get that BTN money. Why add these programs? Because it gave the BTN reach in NY/NJ and in the Washington DC markets. Those are huge TV markets and could increase viewership by millions. I don't have too many complaints about Maryland but Rutgers has been a complete embarrassment to the league. Yesterday's NCAA violations notification was the latest example. There has to be huge buyer remorse here, even though Jim denies it.
- If cable cord cutting is happening at nearly 20,000 people a day, the addition of the above markets make that decision a poor one in todays marketplace.
Jim "Denies it" Delany has made Millions for each Big Ten school and his idea about the BTN has been copied by every major conference out there. The issue is, times are a changing and it's time for new leadership in the league office. As cable companies are quickly moving towards becoming Newspapers, there has to be new ideas on how to sell the Big Ten product. Give him a gold Rolex, a golf membership and show him to the door.
- 4 Star DT Jay Tufele is planning to take official visits to Utah and USC in January. He is looking like a signing day decision.
- The next commitment announcement on deck is tomorrow with 4/5 star IMG FL LB Jordan Anthony.
- NJ LB Drew Singleton decision could also drop before Christmas.