Delany Also Wanted Power to Hire Coaches, Source Says

I wrote Thursday about a Big Ten proposal that would give Jim Delany, the conference’s commissioner, the power to fire rogue coaches. The idea is part of an 18-page plan to strengthen the oversight of athletics in the conference.

One person I talked to mentioned another proposal that didn’t make it into the document. The idea, which Delany outlined for a Big Ten athletic official during this year’s bowl season, would give the commissioner even broader authority to help institutions make coaching decisions.

Expressing frustration at bad hires that certain Big Ten institutions had made, which had led to NCAA violations and other problems, Delany said he thought he could do a better job of vetting candidates. He also believed he could pull the trigger sooner on coaches whose poor behavior could damage the Big Ten’s reputation.

For those reasons, he thought it would be “useful” if he had the authority to make hiring, firing, and evaluation decisions involving football and men’s basketball coaches.

“He wanted to offer that he would play a very central role in hiring and managing the power coaches in the conference—that the commissioner would be insulated from boosters and campus politics,” this person said. “And knowing the situation going on in intercollegiate athletics, he could play a really critical role in hiring decisions.”

If the intention was to protect institutions from undue influences, such moves might make a lot of sense, this person said: “It would give schools some distance and let them move on to the next topic, because someone else was ultimately making the call. Jim’s going to be the Supreme Court.”

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