The Spartan Podcast

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Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany talks with Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis and reflects on his 25 years as conference commissioner.

“It’s been an opportunity and a privilege to work for these great universities,” Delany tells Hollis. “Change is ever present; we’ve expanded and built a network, and we’ve expanded opportunities for women while keeping those for the men intact.”

Delany says the Rose Bowl will host the final BCS Championship game in 2014 and the first playoff semi-final game in 2015. And he’s pleased that “we’re able to keep the playoff structure within the construct of the bowl system.”

Hollis and Delany agree that expanding the conference with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland will expose the Big Ten brand to a large alumni base.

“We have close to a million alumni in those areas, and they’re all married to someone and most of them have kids,” Delany says. “So you multiply that number by three-and-a-half or four and it’s really a significant presence.”

Delany adds that “there’s nothing good that’s not challenging and has some risk” but that it’s incumbent upon the league to take advantage of linking up with flagship AAU public institutions in contiguous territories.

“And the reality is that all the major conferences have expanded and are in two regions and have a challenge to build brand and relationships and make friends,” says Delany. “And we’re intent on doing that, and I think we can be successful.”

Delany says the Big Ten has “only added three percent to our geographic mass, but 30 percent to our demographic.”

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