On Monday, the Big Ten Conference announced that Jim Delaney will conclude his term as the league’s commissioner in June 2020, when his current contract expires. Delany came to the conference in 1989 having previously held the same position at the Ohio Valley Conference.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors has begun a search process to identify a successor to be led by the COP/C Executive Committee and led by Chair Morton Schapiro, Northwestern’s president.
“It’s been an amazing opportunity to serve and lead these preeminent institutions, presidents, administrators, coaches and students,” Delany said in a statement. “It is incredibly fulfilling to support the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have been afforded an opportunity to obtain best-in-class educations as a result of the invaluable, one-of-a-kind lessons learned through the unique combination of athletic and classroom competition.
“I would like to recognize and thank each of my colleagues for being such invaluable members of, and contributors to, the Big Ten Conference team, while acknowledging that there is still plenty of work to be done. I look forward to continuing that work through the balance of my term.”
During his time at the conference, Delaney has overseen massive advances and expansions at the conference. While some like the establishment of the Big Ten Network and the first use of replay review have been viewed favorably, his efforts to expand the conference have not always been met with as much appreciation.
Under his leadership, Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers have all joined the conference, with varying degrees of success. However, it is impossible to uncouple the latter two additions from the financial benefits of the Big Ten Network. With the expansion into the Washington D.C.-Baltimore and New York/New Jersey media markets, Delaney has increased the cable revenue for each of the schools in the league.
While in college, Delaney played basketball for Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina, where he played on two teams that reached the Final Four, including his senior year, when he was one of the team’s captains.