Pitt's Hendricks makes All-ACC team
CHICAGO — Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany knows change is coming to the NCAA, major developments that will alter the landscape of college sports.
He just wants to make sure it's done right.
Speaking Wednesday at the league's media days in a Chicago hotel, Delany echoed the chorus of major conference commissioners calling for a new model when it comes to the governing body of college athletics. But he said it's important to address the issues at the center of their concerns.
“I'm in favor of whatever restructuring that will lead to what I would consider to be resolving or improving certain areas where I think we're weak,” he said. “If we restructure the NCAA and don't address some of the substantive concerns, I wonder why we have restructured.”
Conference commissioners across the country are talking seriously about the future of the athletic departments at their schools. The leaders of the Big 12, SEC and ACC have offered their critiques of the NCAA over the last week.
Delany's top priorities for a restructured NCAA include a lifetime commitment to education, an examination of the time demands placed on athletes, the eligibility structure for at-risk students and an additional grant for full-scholarship athletes — a hot-button issue for mid-major schools.
All the commissioners from the major conferences have pushed for a stipend for athletes that would add about $2,000 to an athletic scholarship to cover the full cost of attendance, but it could not be passed because smaller schools said they couldn't afford it.
“It's the right thing to do,” said Delany, who played college basketball for North Carolina. “Whether that's 2,000, 3,000, or 4,000, I don't know, but we need to address that.”
Delany also thinks the NCAA should do more to help at-risk students, without providing an exact definition of what he meant by the term. He proposed a year of residence before the four years of eligibility kicks in.
Meyer talks discipline
Knowing he would be peppered with questions about player discipline issues during his five seasons at Florida and more recently at Ohio State, coach Urban Meyer arrived at Big Ten media days with a posture and tone he rarely displays.
Normally defensive, bordering on confrontational, about his teams' unpleasant track record of off-field issues, Meyer instead seemed wistful Wednesday and wondered whether he gave some players too many second chances.
“Obviously, there are some things that maybe we erred,” Meyer said. “We're not the only program in America that makes mistakes, (but) we've had too many, and I've self-evaluated, evaluated our staff and evaluated how we do our business, and we're continually changing to make sure we do it the right way.”
Meyer's history of player discipline has been in the spotlight this summer with his former tight end at Florida, Aaron Hernandez.
Pitt's Hendricks All-ACC
Senior safety Jason Hendricks, who led Pitt in interceptions (six) and tackles (90) last season in the Big East, was named to the preseason All-ACC team in balloting by journalists covering conference media days this week in Greensboro, N.C.
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald missed receiving a spot on the team by two votes. Former Pitt center Ryan Turnley disagreed with the writers who kept Donald off the team.
“I really feel bad for people underestimating (Donald) right now,” Turnley posted Wednesday in a tweet. “It's gonna be a massacre.”
The only other Pitt player who finished in the top four was punter Matt Yoklic (four votes).