A Giant Sucking Sound — Notice what’s absent, any time some compliance issue comes up: The Big Ten Conference. Go to their website, there’s not a word about Compliance. The Conference is a critical player now in the Athletic-Industrial Complex, primarily because of the sweet, multi-billion dollar TV deal/income it has generated, and is flush with cash. Nothing. Nada. The Big Ten has turned into a mammoth national chain, with 12 outlets, all inundated with cash, and all it cares about is money, money, money — not for the “talent”, but for the administrators and schools. Compliance is a big bother.
Jim Delaney, and the Big Ten, despite this sea-change in the financial status of the Conference, have been AWOL on any issues relating to Compliance. It’s not at all clear that the Big Ten does anything at all related to Compliance. Delaney’s response to the appalling blatant cheating by Jim Tressel has been that of a bystander who happens onto a car accident belatedly, inquires of the bystander next to him “Did anyone get hurt?,” but then proceeds on his way to his office without even waiting for a response. He has no interest in it. Despite the fact that the wreck which Tressel was a part of resulted from some serious violation of NCAA (and Big Ten, presumably) rules. Despite the fact that all the AD’s and School Presidents give lip service to the highest level of commitment to “protecting” the amateur status of “Student-Athletes.”
Where in the hell is the Big Ten on Compliance? There certainly is no lack of funds. Why has spending on Compliance by the Big Ten not shot up ten-fold over the last five years, to parallel the mammoth increase in TV profits? Just by way of example, the Big Ten could easily (and relatively cheaply) set up a standard “Compliance Education” operation, either online and/or live, which would eliminate the current “balkanized” Compliance operations at each school. This would partially achieve results (see our June 6 posting “Calling the NCAA’s Bluff: Require Coaches to Be Compliance-Certified.”) which would eliminate the silly “Oh, I didn’t know the rules” excuse which most coaches — like Tressel, Rich Rod, Jim Calhoun, and others, come up with when faced with a charge that they violated rules.
As Mark Twain said, “the older I get, the more I watch what people do, not what they say.” If you watch what the Big Ten has does, or more accurately, what it has failed to do, you can deduce that there are two reasons that the Big Ten is AWOL on Compliance:
1) The BTC doesn’t care one whit about Compliance, and just does not want to know about violations.
2) The BTC does not want any Compliance problems or findings causing any decrease in the tsunami of money which now drowns the Big Ten Conference. The Big Ten is a Big Business whose spending, structure, and actions speak loudly that Compliance is a bother, and an impediment to making money.