Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, already embroiled in a public spat with Comcast over the fees for shoehorning the Big Ten Network into Comcast's monolith of programming, hasn't let the controversy slow down his ambitious plans for expanding the domain of the Big Ten.
Even in the face of Congressional scrutiny, Delany's plans to forge ahead with the hardball tactics that have made him a lightning rod for controversy in the world of college football. This includes the bold initiative to stuff the Big Ten network with all kinds of Big Ten related programming, including women's sports, a negotiating point that escalated tensions between Comcast and the Big Ten when Comcast referred to "second and third-tier sports," language Delany demanded an apology for in a press release. (Comcast refused.)
Most controversial--and potentially humiliating for Delany--is his proposed "Leave a Dollar, Leave a Dollar" campaign designed to exploit "unrealized value" in the Big Ten's name.
"We realize that as America's number one sports conference, our name has real value as a brand," said Delany at a Wednesday morning press conference. "So we're asking that when you say the words Big Ten in a sentence---you simply drop in a dollar into the conveniently located Big Ten Jars of Excellence around your area." Delany paused in the middle of the sentence, pulling a dollar out of his billfold and placing it into the jar.
Delany: asking you to leave a dollar, or leave a dollar. Illustrations by House Rock Built.
Delany tried to silence critics of the plan by claiming they were out of step with today's street culture. "We've done the research,
and nothing grabs today's hip-hop-oriented youth more than ostentatious displays of wealth. And while we maintain the highest academic standards of any major conference--unlike those tax-dodging, knuckledragging unclefuckers in the SEC--we are aware of the need to grow financially and engage new, young fans."
"In short, imagine crowds of urban and suburban youth, gathering around the jars and saying the words 'Big Ten"--hey, I owe the jar one there--(drops another dollar in, smiling)--and then making it rain on our institutions and their athletic programs. It's a no-brainer, slam-dunk decision for us."
Delany concluded the pitch by saying that the Jars of Excellence Program "would work a lot like the Leave a Penny, Take a Penny systems at convenience stores, only instead of taking a penny, you just always left it there. Oh, and instead of pennies, you leave dollars."
As part of the initiative, Delany has recruited former NYPD hottie and Delany soundalike Kim Delaney, whose posters for the campaign have tested much better with focus groups than the pictures of commissioner Delany in the same outfit.
Kim Delaney: a better spokesperson for the campaign than Jim anytime. The House Rock Built strikes again on the illustration.