Skull Session: Big Ten Done Stealing Pac-12 Teams, NCAA Allows Schools to Financially Support Athletes, and Darryl Lee Has Big Ten Title Ring Returned

By Kevin Harrish on August 4, 2022 at 5:15 am
Ryan Day is smiling huge in today's skull session.

Folks, I am pleased to announce that I am hype – and you can be too, thanks to this masterpiece from Ohio State's production team.

I don't think I've ever gotten more juiced from a highlight reel featuring no highlights. I ain't mad about it.

Word of the Day: Nigh.

 STAYING PUT. Despite all the expansion talk and speculation over the past weeks and months, the Big Ten is all done harvesting Pac-12 teams – at least for now.

But Notre Dame, though...

After the anxiety caused last week regarding further Big Ten expansion, industry sources have indicated the Big Ten is no longer as interested in adding California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. Rightsholders were balking at paying the same amount for those schools as the 16 Big Ten schools going forward ($80 million-$100 million).

While those four programs may eventually have options, the Big Ten is concentrating on its new deal in 2023 while trying to lure Notre Dame, which has an open invitation. More and more stakeholders now believe the Fighting Irish will ultimately stay independent.

My personal #take is that it's only a matter of time before the Irish just pony up and join a conference. 

And while they're saying they want to remain independent, I still wouldn't be shocked if that changes real quick once they see the pot of gold the Big Ten is about to get from its next broadcast deal.

At the end of the day, being independent is very cool until it starts to mean leaving piles of money on the table, and I think we're really close to that point.

 A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA. In a legitimately stunning turn of events, the NCAA has voluntarily made a rule change that clearly and simply benefits athletes with no obvious catch or downside.

Schools now are empowered to support student-athletes in a variety of ways without asking for waivers, including providing support needed for a student-athlete’s personal health, safety and well-being; paying for items to support a student’s academic pursuits; purchasing insurance of various types (including loss-of-value and critical injury); and funding participation in elite-level training, tryouts and competition. The benefits proposal is effective immediately.

That's an objectively great rule change, but why the hell did we have to wait until 2022 for any of this? What sane person would have ever objected to a school providing for an athlete's "personal health, safety and well-being" or "supporting a student's academic pursuits?"

If the NCAA would have simply been less shitty for the past several decades and allowed normal things like this years ago, maybe we wouldn't be at the point where folks are ready to overhaul the entire damn system.

Sometimes, when the angry mob is ready to defenestrate you, changes like this are just a little too late.

 REUNITED. The obvious perk of a Big Ten Championship ring is that it's gigantic and expensive and awesome, but the downside is that it's an extremely lucrative heist to any enterprising thief.

Former Buckeye defensive lineman Darryl Lee found that out the hard way – twice in the past four years.

Props to the community for helping him get it back. Here's hoping my guy invests in a safe (or that people suddenly get less shitty, but I ain't holding my breath on that). 

 IT BE LIKE THAT SOMETIMES. Y'all ain't ready for the most Gen Z thing I've ever seen in my life (I know I'm old when I'm bombing on the generation below mine).

To be fair, that's one hell of an incentive to avoid getting tackled. Maybe you leave the phone there and stick the kid at running back? Gotta get creative.

 SONG OF THE DAY. "Turn My Swag On" by Soulja Boy.

 NOT STICKING TO SPORTS. Podcast guests are paying up to $50,000 to appear on popular shows... Klondike considers bringing back the Choco Taco after consumer uproar... The people making millions off Listerine royalties... Five reasons to hold on to those silica gel packets... A robber steals $22,000 in $1 bills from a strip club... 

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