Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany held a meeting this morning with all 12 of his football coaches. The message was clear: No more major rules violations.
Michigan is on probation for the next three years and Ohio State is headed there after major violations at both of the historic programs. Both schools replaced their head coach, although for Michigan it was more because of Rich Rodriguez's woeful performance on the field than it was the extra practice sessions that placed the Wolverines on probation with the NCAA.
Delany called the situations at both Ohio State and Michigan "embarrasing" and doesn't want to see it happen again.
"It not only has reflected poorly on them, it's reflected poorly on us," he said. "I explained to each of those coaches that going forward we do not want two more such cases and that they are the CEOs of their program. People make mistakes, but it's how those mistakes are managed and how people address those that's more important than the underlying mistake."
Delany acknowledged college football has significant challenges in cleaning up the mess over the next couple of years and called for reform of today's system.
"It could probably fairly be described as a system established in the '50s and stuck in the '70s," Delany said. "I think that there's going to be a need to really look at it, look at it seriously, upgrade it for the 21st century so that we're going to be able to continue to put forward teams sponsored by institutions of higher education without being embarrassed by the actions that occur off the field."
Delany has quarreled with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive in the past, but he agrees with the four-point plan Slive unveiled last week at the SEC's media days. Slive's plan includes 1) redefining the benefits (money) available to student-athletes; 2) strengthen the academic requirements for incoming freshmen and transfers; 3) modernize recruiting rules and 4) improve enforcement processes.
Delany likes all of it, calling the recent scandals at Ohio State, Michigan, Auburn, Southern California, North Carolina and all points in between "not the NCAA's problem, it's our problem, and we need to fix it."
"The struggles that have come under scrutiny in the last year raise legitimate questions in people's minds about who is sponsoring these programs and what do these programs stand for," Delany said. "I can't remember a period of time where we've had more questions about various programs, whether it be on the agent side, the recruitment side, or the academic side. We've had two of them in this conference, and that's two too many, as far as I'm concerned."