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Big 10 Presidents' Statements For Dummies

As the NCAA's case circles the drain and their legal team continues to make moves that have people wistfully remembering the courtroom savvy of Chris Darden and Marcia Clarke, the Big 10 university poobahs decided to step up to the plate and vaguely promise to kinda sorta do better if these athletes will just stop it already. Or something like that. Let us translate.

"If all else fails, I'll start name-dropping. I 'm sort of a big deal around here."
"If all else fails, I'll start name-dropping. I 'm sort of a big deal around here."
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

With their backs up against the wall, blindfolds on, and a fucking pack of Winstons in their teeth Out of deep sense of morality and a strong need to do the right thing, the Big 10 Presidents(and Chan-cel-lors, your grace!) with Jim Delaney's pistol pointed at their collective ears decided to release a statement in which they swear that they will start taking better care of the money-making athletes who net their schools millions if only the athletes will leave annoying things like the NLRB and the courts out of the equation and just trust them for shit's sake.

Leverage can be so damn annoying.

Anyway, those of you not familiar with institution-speak may read this statement and actually come away thinking that these folks might have the athlete's best interests at heart. That's because these things bear as much resemblance to the English language as that crap they talk in Manchester hooligan bars called The Donkey Shank. Or Ed Orgeron ordering breakfast at Denny's.

Anyway, have no fear - Corn Nation has your back, brother. Read along and we'll make sense of the nonsense paragraph by damn paragraph.

Here we go, kids:

ROSEMONT, Ill. - While testifying last week in the O'Bannon trial in Oakland, Calif., Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany spoke to the importance of the inextricable link between academics and athletics as part of the collegiate model, and to the value of establishing a 21st century system to meet the educational needs of current and future student-athletes. During his testimony, Delany conveyed sentiments long supported by the conference and its member institutions. Today, the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten schools issue the following statement signed by the leaders of each institution:

Translation: Let's start off by linking athletics & academics! I'm sure they've forgotten about Andy Katzenmoyer and the Fab 5 by now. Maybe Melvin Gordon can recite the St Crispin's Day soliloquy at the 50 before Wisconsin/Iowa kicks off . Or we can debut "Braxton Reads Great Expectations" - a weekly chapter of Dickens from the All-American candidate.

As another NCAA season concludes with baseball and softball championships, college athletics is under fire. While football players at Northwestern fight for collective bargaining, former athletes are suing to be compensated for the use of their images.

Translation: Fuckers.

Football and men's basketball are at issue. Compensating the student-athletes who compete in these sports will skew the overall academic endeavor - for all students, not just those wearing a school's colors.

Translation: Even though most athletic departments operate independently of university budgets, let's imply that compensating athletes will be made up by raising tuition and other student costs.

The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us - presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the values of intercollegiate competition. Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than academics.

Translation: Even though we've done nothing for the last 100 years but count money whilst telling athletes to be grateful for the scholly and eat a dick, we're ready to talk now. The fact that the O'Bannon case is going about as well for the NCAA as the Muhammad Ali fight went for Jerry Quarry might have something to do with it.

The tradition and spirit of intercollegiate athletics is unique to our nation. Students play as part of their overall academic experience, not for a paycheck or end-of-season bonus. Many also compete in hopes of a professional career, just as our biology majors serve internships and musical theater students perform in summer stock. These opportunities - sports, marching band, campus newspaper, and more - are facets of the larger college experience and prepare students for life. And that, in its purest form, is the mission of higher education.

Translation: It's all the same thing. We can easily charge $75 a pop eight times a year for people to watch Gavin's lab team study the effects of excessive sugars on red blood cells. And we told Gavin to eat a dick when he asked for a cut of the sales on his replica lab coats. So we're VERY consistent on this issue. And BTW, the band is there on football Saturday as well - has anyone done a study to determine how many fans are there for football and how many are there to support the band??

The reality of intercollegiate athletics is that only a miniscule number of students go on to professional sports careers. In the sports that generate the greatest revenue and attention, football sees 13 percent of Big Ten players drafted by the NFL and basketball sees 6 percent from our conference drafted for NBA play.

Translation: Since so few of these guys go on to successful pro careers in the NFL and NBA, then I guess stadiums aren't really selling out to watch this inferior competition and we're not actually raking in millions hand over fist and we sure as hell don't have our own network to televise it all. Screw it, we don't know where we're going with this one. We just want to keep all the cash and lost our train of thought.

For those student-athletes who are drafted, their professional careers average fewer than five years. They still have several decades and, potentially, several careers ahead of them in which to succeed. And their college experience - their overall academic experience - should be what carries them forward.

Translation: Because a little deferred cash out of the millions people paid to watch them and buy stuff with their name on it as a kickstart toward that success is NOT an option. Let's keep going with this internship diarrhea instead. Because we're certain that people are stupid enough to believe that what Ameer Abdullah does for the Huskers bottom line is absolutely comparable to the guy who spends his summers fetching sandwiches and running interoffice mail at Berkshire Hathaway .

This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-athletes:

  • We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete, for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate education. We want our students to graduate. If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm. Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a student's scholarship when his or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.(Translation: But only if the SEC goes along. And Saban would rather have sex with Gus Malzahn.)
  • We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.(Translation: We'll blame Obama)
  • We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend college.(Translation: 5 star athletes have higher incidental costs. Urban says he's not budging on this one.)

Across the Big Ten, and in every major athletic conference, football and men's basketball are the principal revenue sports. That money supports the men and women competing in all other sports. No one is demanding paychecks for our gymnasts or wrestlers. And yet it is those athletes - in swimming, track, lacrosse, and other so-called Olympic sports - who will suffer the most under a pay-to-play syste.

Translation: I know we sound like we're playing nice, but we are not going to jack with our bottom lines. Cross country and swimming will go before our profits will.

The revenue creates more opportunities for more students to attend college and all that provides, and to improve the athletic experiences through improved facilities, coaching, training and support.

Translation: If only Microsoft's most talented designers and programmers would work for $25,000/year, just think how many more people they could hire!

If universities are mandated to instead use those dollars to pay football and basketball players, it will be at the expense of all other teams. We would be forced to eliminate or reduce those programs. Paying only some athletes will create inequities that are intolerable and potentially illegal in the face of Title IX.

Translation: I knew we always loved Title IX!!! And whatever we do, for the love of God, let's not go to the NFL and NBA and suggest that maybe they start helping to subsidize these payments since we've basically been providing them with a free minor league system since the beginning of time.

The amateur model is not broken, but it does require adjusting for the 21st century. Whether we pay student-athletes is not the true issue here. Rather, it is how we as universities provide a safe, rewarding and equitable environment for our student-athletes as they pursue their education.

Translation: It's totally the issue - better spin some horseshit about safe environments and education. That'll shut people up.

We believe that the intercollegiate athletics experience and the educational mission are inextricably linked. Professionalizing specific sports or specific participants will bring about intended as well as likely unintended consequences in undermining the educational foundation of these programs, on Big Ten campuses and others throughout the country.

Translation: Now spin some ominous crap about unintended consequences. People will totally think of Walter White and unconsciously link paying college athletes to meth dealing. Breaking Bad is da bomb, yo.

Higher education provides young people with options in life to thrive in the future. For a tiny minority, that future will be a professional sports career and all of its rewards. For all graduates - athletes and non-athletes - it is the overall academic experience that is a lifetime source of compensation in the form of a well-rounded education.

Translation: It's our money, so step the fuck off.


Sally Mason, chair, Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and president, University of Iowa

Phyllis Wise, chancellor, University of Illinois

Michael McRobbie, president, Indiana University

Wallace Loh, president, University of Maryland

Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Michigan

Lou Anna K. Simon, president, Michigan State University

Eric Kaler, president, University of Minnesota

Harvey Perlman, chancellor, University of Nebraska

Morton Schapiro, president, Northwestern University

Joseph A. Alutto, interim president, Ohio State University

Eric J. Barron, president, Penn State University

Mitch Daniels, president, Purdue University

Robert L. Barchi, president, Rutgers University

Rebecca Blank, chancellor, University of Wisconsin