Delany sees room for November night football

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany

ROSEMONT, Ill. --Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany left open the possibility of future November night football games and even the potential for this season.

Delany, who has served as league commissioner since 1989, said if both schools agreed to play at night and a television network wanted to air the game, he'd get on board.

"I have no agenda on it," Delany said Thursday at Big Ten Basketball Media Day. "If both schools wanted to do it, then I think it's good. Those games in November are interesting games. They're important for the conference race, the national race. People want to see them. If both schools want to do it and a television entity was there, I'd be full supportive."

It's highly unlikely a 2013 game shifts into primetime. The league doesn't have a rule or policy preventing November primetime games, but with large crowds in a Northern climate, the schools and league preferred to keep the last month's action during the day. However Delany recognizes the demographics for Saturday night football are important and the games often are the sport's showcase event.

"Going forward in our new television agreement, I'm sure we'll have some discussions and sort of figure out what the right marketing template for us is," Delany said. "We've got big stadiums that move a lot of people. It's more difficult than smaller stadium schools. We're up at 15 (primetime games), and that's a lot. We can do more, but I think it's got to be people feeling pretty comfortable."

NCAA talks ongoing

Conference representatives met in Indianapolis on Wednesday to discuss potential changes to the NCAA governance structure. The talks remain ongoing, Delany said.

The Big Ten, Big 12, Southeastern, Atlantic Coast and Pac-12 conferences would like autonomy within the NCAA structure. The high-revenue leagues would like to provide cost-of-education stipends for athletes, allow scholarships for athletes who have exhausted eligibility and other changes that lower-revenue conferences can't afford.

Delany doesn't see the leagues attempting to secede from the NCAA or form another division. All of the NCAA tournaments would remain in place. But in order for the power leagues to gain autonomy, the other conferences must grant it.

"It's very unusual for people to vote themselves less authority to give someone else more authority," Delany said. "That is not human nature. But I think what we've tried to do is frame this in a way that we can all win, we can all be under the same umbrella and we can all share revenue as we have. It's not a money grab, it's not a power grab. It's a little more authority, but it's under a big tent.

"If we can't, then our presidents and our athletic directors have to figure out what is our recourse. But I think our effort is to be under the NCAA. We're committed to that process." 

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