Jim Delany Will Conclude His Term As Big Ten Commissioner in 2020

By Kevin Harrish on March 4, 2019 at 11:10 am
Jim Delany will step down as Big Ten Commissioner.

Jim Delany will serve just one more year as Big Ten Commissioner.

Delany officially conclude his term as the conference's commissioner at the end of his current contract which expires on June 30, 2020, the Big Ten announced on Monday.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity to serve and lead these preeminent institutions, presidents, administrators, coaches and students,” Delany said in a release. “It is incredibly fulfilling to support the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have been afforded an opportunity to obtain best-in-class educations as a result of the invaluable, one-of-a-kind lessons learned through the unique combination of athletic and classroom competition."

Delany has been the Big Ten Commissioner since 1989. His departure ends an over 30-year tenure.

During his time as commissioner, the conference saw expansion from 10 teams to an eventual 14, with two divisions. Under his leadership, the conference added Penn State in 1990, Nebraska in 2011 and both Rutgers and Maryland in 2014.

Delany was also instrumental in proposing the Big Ten Network, after failed negotiations with ESPN.

“I knew all the guys at ESPN. I watched the growth, understood the model, and I felt that the Big Ten deserved a larger share. ESPN had different views,” Delany said in an article by Bob Hammel.

Delany's proposed solution was to start their own network.

“Some people were uncomfortable with that," Delany said. "I said, ‘You take a check from them. Why not own it yourselves? Then you could control it in part, and derive the benefits. If you don’t want beer advertising, don’t have it. You could get women’s sports on, too. And I think you could get an opportunity to showcase your universities’ strengths.' And we’ve been able to do all those things.”

Delany, now in his early 70s, does not yet have a plan after resigning from the position, but Hammel reports he will leave sooner than June of 2020 if a successor is found and ready to take over prior to then.

The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors has initiated a search process for the next conference commissioner.

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