1500 West Higgins Road
Park Ridge, IL 60068-6300
Dear Mr. Delaney,
Let me start by thanking you for your contributions to collegiate athletics. Your vibrant forethought has brought us such innovations as instant replay, the Big 10 channel and the Motor City Bowl. We are forever in your debt. Conferences don’t win three national championships in the top two revenue sports in 20 years without that kind of leadership. Without your strong leadership, the nuttiness of collegiate baseball players being forced to leave Minnesota in February to travel to warm weather states instead of practicing on an indoor tennis court until March, when it is only fair for everyone to start playing at home, would still be the norm.
Now that Mr. Paterno is advocating Your conference add a championship game for football, I feel it is necessary to come to your defense. Mr. Paterno points to “other conferences” playing games after Thanksgiving as reasoning the Big 10 should add a twelfth team to the conference and play a conference championship game, noting the increased exposure such a game brings those conferences. He also mentions the value of competition at least two weeks later into the season, presumably as a nice way to help Big 10 teams prepare for the bowl season. Regretfully, Mr. Paterno is just too old and out of touch to understand the need to rest those athletes during that time.
This isn’t 1989, where teams have to earn their way into good bowl games with both solid records and a fan base that travels well. This is 2009, where teams are virtually slotted into a good bowl game, despite going 8-4. We owe our gratitude to you for that, as well. Furthermore, there is no value in having teams that just played each other playing again in front of a national television audience. I just don’t see many people traveling to Indianapolis, Chicago, Detroit or Cleveland to see the top two teams in the conference play. Besides, there is a devastating effect if you have an undefeated team lose that game, knocking them out of a potential national championship game slot, thus losing the likelihood of scoring two teams in the BCS bowls. No, thank you.
Mr. Paterno also mentions a couple of teams the Big 10 could add. I view Rutgers, Syracuse and Pitt with derision, as well. Notre Dame is the only worthy team to add to the Big 10. That is becoming more evident year in and year out, as the Irish and the Big 10’s football priorities, achievements, and aspirations have come very close to merging. Next, Mr. Paterno will want to ease academic restrictions to allow faster athletes into the Big 10. You must not allow this to happen.
Mr. Delaney, you stand alone between the anarchy of the new and the safety of the old. Please keep up the good fight.
Bulldog in Exlie