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July 24, 2004

Big 10 Commissioner Delany Selected “Most Relevant”

FROM THE CBS COLLEGE SPORTS BRAIN TRUST comes the drum roll and the fanfare accompanying the selection of Big 10 commish Jim Delany as the “most relevant” person in all of college football.

Although the word “relevant” seems a curious descriptor for this accolade—why not most important, most valuable or most powerful?—few are they who will argue much about this selection.

College football has long maintained a go-its-own-way maverick status, and in the absence of any central authority, Mr. Delany opportunistically and definitively filled the void over the past decade.

A key player in the creation of the BCS eight years ago, Delany, 55, has since evolved into the Don of D-1A.

Delany’s power is such that his conference encompasses one quarter of the US. population. There are 3.3 million Big Ten living alumni, many energetic fans of their schools. In his 15 years, Delany increased the conference's bowl tie-ins from one to seven.

Furthermore, Delany has increased bowl distributions from $32.3 million in 1989 to almost four times that now. He has shrewdly negotiated highly favorable terms with cable TV, bowl growth, NCAA Tournament and the Internet.

Congratulations to Commissioner Delany. Relevant, powerful, influential, whatever you call it, he da man.

The selection of Jim Delany was made by CBSSportsLine.com senior writer Dennis Dodd. Mr. Dodd actually selected the top 50 most relevant college football figures over a period of time (see The Latest List: The 50 Most ‘Relevant’ People In College Football below, which was posted on 7-18-04), leading up the announcement of the Delany selection on Monday, July 19.

(this 265 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was distilled from a 857 word article from CBSSportsLine.com of 7-19-04)

from the 7-18 update of CollegeAthleticsClips.com:

The Latest List: The Top 5o "Most Relevant" People In College Football

FROM DENNIS DODD—SPORTSLINE.COM SENIOR WRITER--COMES one man’s opinion of the 50 people who will have “the biggest impact on the 2004 season.” Mr. Dodd informs us that his list is not about the most popular or most powerful.

The list has been rolled out in increments of ten. The shocking crescendo will occur Monday, July 19, when numero uno will be divulged.

Here are the 49 named thus far:

2. Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State coach
3. Joe Paterno, Penn State coach
4. Mike Price, Texas-El Paso coach
5. Gary Barnett, Colorado coach
6. Jason White, Oklahoma quarterback
7. Matt Leinart, USC quarterback
8. Myles Brand, NCAA president
9. Loren Matthews, Senior Vice President of Programming at ABC
10. Phil Knight, NIKE CEO
11. Willie Williams, Miami Recruit
12. John Swofford, ACC Commissioner
13. Nick Saban, LSU Coach
14. Pete Carroll, USC Coach
15. Mike Tranghese, Big East Commissioner
16. Darren Sproles, Kansas State Running Back
17. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma Coach
18. Mike Slive, SEC Commissioner
19. Scott Cowen, Tulane President
20. Tyrone Willingham, Notre Dame Coach
21. Bill Callahan, Nebraska coach
22. Bobby Bowden, Florida State Coach
23. Bobby Ross, Army Coach
24. George O'Leary, Central Florida Coach
25. Gordon Gee, Vanderbilt President
26. Chris Leak, Florida Quarterback
27. Kevin O'Malley, TV Consultant
28. Mike Stoops, Arizona coach
29. Reggie Bush, USC Running Back
30. Mike Williams, Wide Receiver
31. Tom Hansen, Pac-10 Commissioner
32. DeLoss Dodds, Texas Athletic Director
33. Brad Smith, Missouri Quarterback
34. Corey Webster, LSU Cornerback
35. Tom Condon, Agent
36. David Greene, Georgia Quarterback
37. Joe Tiller, Purdue Coach
38. David Pollack, Georgia Defensive End
39. Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma Athletic Director
40. Kevin Weiberg, Big 12 Commissioner
41. Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma Running Back
42. Kevin White, Notre Dame Athletic Director
43. Carnell "Cadillac" Williams, Auburn Running Back
44. Andy Geiger, Ohio State Athletic Director
45. DeAngelo Williams, Memphis Running Back
46. Mitch Dorger, Rose Bowl Executive Director
47. Steve Spurrier, amateur golfer
48. Chuck Neinas, consultant
49. Lew Perkins, Kansas Athletic Director
50. John Junker, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director

Just out of the Top 50:

• Xavier Carter, LSU receiver
• Anthony Davis, Wisconsin running back
• Katie Hnida, New Mexico kicker
• Rasheed Marshall, West Virginia quarterback
• Rick Neuheisel, former college coach
• Greg Robinson, Texas defensive coordinatorMarcus Vick, Virginia Tech quarterback

Source: CBS SportsLine, Dennis Dodd