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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Delany’

A formal challenge to the Big Ten to donate $10k to ChadTough

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

This afternoon, we sent the following letter to the Big Ten Conference, formally challenging them to match our donation with a $10k donation of their own to The ChadTough Foundation. If we get a response, we’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, keep donating, keep sharing, keep the conversation alive.


Dear Big Ten Conference,

On behalf of the vast fan base and alumni network of the University of Michigan, we – Justin Potts of Maize and Go Blue, Brad Muckenthaler of Maize & Blue Nation, Craig Barker of The Hoover Street Rag, and Kerri Cortez – formally challenge you to match our crowdsourced donation to The ChadTough Foundation with a $10,000 donation from the Big Ten Conference.

As you know, The ChadTough Foundation was founded in honor of the grandson of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr, who passed away on November 23, 2015 of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). The Foundation funds research and raises awareness for pediatric cancer. As of 2:30pm Wednesday, our fundraiser is closing in on $23,000 raised.

We were driven to action by what we felt was a lack of accountability on the Big Ten’s part regarding officiating in last Saturday’s Michigan vs. Ohio State football game and hypocrisy in the statement issued to Coach Harbaugh. Instead of raising the money to cover Harbaugh’s fine, we chose a charity near and dear to the hearts of the Michigan family.

The conference publicly reprimanded Coach Harbaugh and fined the university $10,000, stressing the “integrity of competition” in your statement. Yet, at this time, there has not been a statement issued by the conference regarding the quality of officiating on Saturday. It would not be without precedence.

• Just this season, the Big 12 and Mid-American Conference suspended officials for two games for errors in the Central Michigan vs. Oklahoma State game.
• Mr. Delany himself has previously fired officials for “failing to meet Big Ten standards.”
• Incredibly, one of those four, Daniel Capron, served as the Head Referee on Saturday.

Additionally, Kevin Schwartzel, the Back Judge on Saturday’s crew, was previously disallowed from working the Michigan-Ohio State game because he’s a self-proclaimed Ohio State fan.

You are well within your right to fine Coach Harbaugh. But the Big Ten Conference should also be held to the same standards of accountability and “integrity of competition” that it expects from its member coaches and student-athletes. Whether Capron and Schwartzel officiated with bias or not on Saturday, the greatest conference in intercollegiate athletics should hold itself to a higher standard of integrity and transparency.

That is why we are challenging the Big Ten Conference to turn this into a positive. We know the outcome of The Game won’t change. However, we are presenting you an opportunity to appease Michigan fans by matching our donation to a worthy cause within the Michigan family. With $249 million in revenue in 2015 and a $2.6 billion TV deal signed this summer, diverting Harbaugh’s $10,000 fine to a fantastic charitable cause is not only a drop in the bucket of the Big Ten wallet, but also the right thing to do.



New Big Ten Gets it Right

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

The Big Ten announced the layout of its two divisions beginning in 2011 and Big Ten fans across the country should be happy. While there was much speculation in recent days that Michigan and Ohio State being put in separate divisions would equal doom, since it could mean moving the historic game between the two rivals to mid-season, it didn’t happen. 

New Big Ten Divisions
“X” Division “O” Division
Ohio State Michigan
Penn State Nebraska
Wisconsin Iowa
Purdue Michigan State
Illinois Northwestern
Indiana Minnesota

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany came through with a layout that I believe is as good as it can get with two yet-to-be-named divisions, though I would still prefer one big conference with 12 teams where each team plays all the others. However, current NCAA rules require multiple divisions in order to hold a championship game, so if this is how it’s going to be, this announcement should please the masses.

First of all, the parity is perfect. Since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, the six schools in the “O” Division have an overall record of 724-517-3 (58.3 percent), while the six schools in the “X” Division have an overall record of 708-517-9 (57.8 percent).

Narrowing down the sample size to the past decade doesn’t change the parity either, as the “O” Division had an overall record of 428-317 (57.4 percent) and the “X” Division had an overall record of 416-322 (56.4 percent).

It would appear that the “X” Division is a little bit more top-heavy with Ohio State (54-10), Penn State (51-13), and Wisconsin (48-17) ranking as the top three in the Big Ten in wins during the past five years. However, much of that disparity is a result of the past two seasons in which Michigan has gone just 8-16. In other words, when Michigan returns to form, the “X” Division won’t seem quite as top-heavy compared to the “O” Division.

The “O” Division seems to be more well-rounded from top to bottom, with only Minnesota (27-36) compiling a losing record during the last five years, while in the “X” Division, Purdue (30-32), Indiana (23-37), and Illinois (21-39) all featured losing records during that time period.

Protected Crossover Games
“X” Division   “O” Division
Ohio State vs. Michigan
Penn State vs. Nebraska
Wisconsin vs. Minnesota
Purdue vs. Iowa
Illinois vs. Northwestern
Indiana vs. Michigan State

Secondly, the existing rivalries will remain intact, most importantly Michigan-Ohio State. The announcement that The Game will remain at the end of the season will satisfy the vast majority of the Ohio State and Michigan fan bases whose outcry was mentioned by both Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon and Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith on the Big Ten Network’s announcement special. Even Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne confessed to receiving phone calls and emails from angry Michigan and Ohio State  fans about moving The Game, some blaming him for causing the move.

Since the two teams are in separate divisions, the door is open for the possibility of playing twice in the same season, but realistically, that should rarely happen.

Keeping The Game as the last game of the conference schedule makes it essentially a do-or-die game, preserving the core of the rivalry – the chance to either make it to the next level or salvage your season by keeping the other from advancing. And that’s the way it should be. In 14 of the past 15 seasons, The Game has had implications on the Big Ten title.

Michigan will also be able to keep its rivalries alive with Michigan State and Minnesota (for the Little Brown Jug) in the “O” Division, while also forming a divisional rivalry with Nebraska, which claims a share of the 1997 National Championship with Michigan.

Other rivalries like Ohio State-Penn State and Purdue-Indiana will be played every season as well since they fall in the same division. The conference will also preserve other rivalries, such as Minnesota-Wisconsin, as protected crossover games.

Thirdly, and perhaps least importantly, the divisions fit well geographically. Not that the area encompassed by the Big Ten is all that big, but it’s essentially divided up into the north (the “O” Division) and the south (the “X” Division).

Nebraska is really the only outlier in the west, similar to Penn State in the east, and with the protected crossover game, the two will alternate home and away trips each year.

So how does this affect Michigan?.

Upcoming Michigan Big Ten Schedules
2011 2012
Oct. 1 Minnesota Sept. 29 Bye
Oct. 8 Northwestern Oct. 6 Purdue
Oct. 15 Michigan State Oct. 13 Illinois
Oct. 22 Bye Oct. 20 Michigan State
Oct. 29 Purdue Oct. 27 Nebraska
Nov. 5 Iowa Nov. 3 Minnesota
Nov. 12 Illinois Nov. 10 Northwestern
Nov. 19 Nebraska Nov. 17 Iowa
Nov. 26 Ohio State Nov. 24 Ohio State
*Home Games in Bold
*2011 Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis

For starters, the schedule sets up perfectly for Michigan’s expected rise back to power in 2011. Michigan will get a break by seeing Penn State and Wisconsin drop off the schedule for the next two years and Purdue and Illinois added as the crossover games.

In addition, Michigan gets Nebraska and Ohio State at home, along with non-conference rival Notre Dame, setting up a dream home schedule for ticket-holders.

Trips to Michigan State and Iowa loom, but Iowa is a very senior-heavy team this season and will be breaking in a new quarterback in 2011 when Ricky Stanzi graduates.

Finishing out the season with Nebraska and Ohio State back-to-back is a tough way to close, but that’s exactly the way it should be. The teams should be playing at their best by the end of the season, so long as they stay healthy, so the final two weekends will virtually serve as play-in games for the Big Ten Championship. Ohio State hosts Penn State the week before traveling to Michigan as well.

All the talking heads saying Rich Rodriguez is on the hot seat this year should simmer down the burner because he’s not going anywhere.

With the combination of the 2011 schedule, 19 returning starters (counting senior cornerback Troy Wollfolk who is expected to redshirt for the 2010 season with an ankle injury), and third-year quarterbacks (Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson), the worst thing Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon could do is fire Rodriguez after this season.

For the Big Ten as a whole, today’s announcement should be seen very favorably. For Michigan fans, this announcement just gives us another reason to get excited for 2011. 

For now, though, there’s another season to play – the last of the old Big Ten.