CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Since 1989, Jim Delany has been a key figure on the NCAA landscape. But after 31 seasons as Big Ten Commissioner, Delany is turning in his keys.
Some of his biggest accomplishments include forming the Big Ten Network and expanding the conference from ten to 14 teams. But there’s much more to his tenure than that.
“It’s been a great run for me,” Delany said. “An opportunity to serve one of the great conferences in the country.”
“I give Jim Delaney a lot of credit, I think history will view him as one of the most transformative figures in the history of college sports,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said.
To go along with the Big Ten Network and BigTen expansion Delany was also a key figure in the formation of the former BCS and the current College Football Playoff, which he still thinks needs some work.
“I’m not sure the strength of schedule of the conference championship has been adequately rewarded in my personal view,” Delany said.
Delany will step aside on January 1st. Vikings Chief Operation Officer Kevin Warren will then take over. Warren and Delany will work side-by-side from September 16th until Delany’s last day.
“When he comes in what we’re trying to do is to use that time in a way that gives him a sense of the rhythm of the conference,” Delany said. “We’ll have conference commissioners meetings at the Big Ten. We’ll have joint group meetings, he’ll be around for those. I don’t think it will be awkward at all, at least I don’t expect it would be. We’ve got a really nice way with each other.”
There’s no doubt the Warren comes in with big shoes to fill. Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman has not yet had a chance to meet the new commish, but has heard good things.
“There are significant issues on the horizon, there’s no question. Whether it’s sports gambling, whether it’s the things we talked about with transfers, whether it’s pay for play and image likeness, expansion of the college football playoff, the list is pretty lengthy,” Whitman said. “The Big 10 has to be in a prominent position of leadership on all of those topics.”
Whether you like the decisions he’s made or not, there’s no denying that Jim Delany has turned the BigTen into one of, if not the, best run conferences in collegiate sports.