When Roy Kramer stepped down as the Commissioner of the SEC, he was seen as the ‘King of College Football’. Not only did he change the way people in college football think, but he changed the money college football makes. He was a a visionary and a hated man, all in a span of 12 years (1990-2002).
Now, with Kramer missing from the world of College Football, you have to wonder who is the new pioneer of the game. While no commissioner in the game today is nearly as powerful as Kramer, there is one who has enacted changes in the game that other conferences are starting to follow. His name is Jim Delany, and he is the Commissioner of the Big 10 Conference. Not only has he started trends that are being–or soon will be–followed in the game today, but he even possesses qualities similar to Kramer.
He helped to create instant replay in College football, which is now used by every major conference in the NCAA. He and the Big 10 are also about to unveil the Big 10 Network, a channel devoted to nothing but Big 10 athletics. You have to admit that there are plenty of SEC fans wondering when we’ll see an SEC-TV. While Kramer’s creations were more ground-breaking than anything Delany has done, you have to respect the man for trying to improve the game (well, for the conferences and schools at least). I do need to point out that Delany did start the conference expansion craze when Penn State joined the Big 10 in 1991.
Delany is almost like a mini-me of Kramer when you think about it. His two biggest innovations (instant replay, Big 10 Network) are blazing a new trail, but they are not as ground breaking as Kramer’s (SEC Championship Game, the BCS). They have both seen national championships for their conferences in both football and basketball. But again, Delany falls short compared to Kramer is this category (Kramer: 3 football titles, 3 basketball titles. Delany: 2 football titles, 1 basketball title).
While Delany is seen as the biggest opponent of a CFB playoff in the game today, he isn’t being portrayed as the enemy as much as Kramer was during his day. Delany is disliked for other reasons as well, such as his comments about the SEC. Unfortunately for Delany, the Big 10 really hasn’t taken the top spot like the SEC did under Kramer (of course, some cheating was possibly involved…. kinda, sorta, definitely). Delany does lead the way in whining.
I guess the only question now is who will take Delany’s place once he steps down. Mike Slive might be the best answer, if he stays long enough. Just consider who else is available: The Big XII commissioner just resigned to work for Delany, The Big East commish isn’t too concerned with football it seems, and I have no clue who runs the ACC and PAC 10 (does the average SEC know?).
Yes, I do realize the role Kramer played in the 2000-2001 Alabama probation saga. I’m just going to pretend that never happened since I’d only end up sad and angry at the world of football.