A 20 million bonus and 19 million buyout rocks college athletics.
Big Ten Commissioner and UNC alumnus Jim Delany is receiving an extra $20 million for making his conference unprecedented money that is passed down to the member schools. Since replacing Wayne Duke in 1990, Delany has made what was once considered an impossible job the best in college athletics with shrewd negotiating and off-the-charts creativity.
When ESPN low-balled the Big Ten with its TV rights bid 12 years ago, Delany left the room and put an idea that had been ruminating in his head into action. Two years later, he launched the Big Ten Network, which is cable-subscriber based but shows only half of the league’s game inventory. The rest is sold to contracts with Fox and ESPN, from which Delany gets even more jack for the Big 10.
He was smart enough to negotiate the commission on new revenues, because his schools have more than doubled their annual payout from the league. But still, the pay-to-play activists are crowing over how a commissioner can make $20 million beyond his salary and there not be enough money to pay athletes responsible for it all.
Even worse is the $19 million Notre Dame recently completed paying former football coach Charlie Weiss, who was an instant flash at South Bend then bombed out and was fired after five seasons and a 35-27 record. But not before Weiss had bargained himself into a 10-year contract at $2-plus million per year. He was paid off in 2015 after stints as O-coordinator with the NFL Chiefs and head coach at Kansas, making more money that did not cut into his Irish larceny.
Weiss is a far more egregious example of college sports money going to the wrong place. Notre Dame was foolish for thinking Weiss was the next coming of Ara Parseghian. He wasn’t cut out for college coaching, which requires recruiting, strategy and motivation, but Kansas still gave him a shot before firing him barely into his third year with a 4-24 record.
Delany deserves what some may think an unseemly bonus for his success, but Weiss has ripped off college sports ever since he became the Golden Goose under the Golden Dome.