Will the Big Ten Commissioner be Able to Fire Coaches in the Future?

Last Updated on June 5, 2014

UPDATE (7/20/12, 10:46 a.m.): The Big Ten has issues the following statement today: “The draft obtained by the Chronicle was an early draft put together by the Big Ten staff in order to surface all of the options available. The option of giving emergency powers to the commissioner to fire personnel is not under consideration by the presidents and chancellors.”

In an article posted by The Chronicle the issue of giving Big Ten leaders the ability to fire coaches is discussed. This comes at a time when the Big Ten is at odds with what should be the proper punishment of the officials from Penn State. As most of you know, former coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted on 45 counts of child sex abuse last month. Now, following findings in the Freeh Report, it has become obvious that at least four top Penn State officials failed to report all that they knew about the child abuse allegations to the proper authorities back in 2002. As a result, the Big Ten is trying to figure out what combination of financial penalties, suspension, or termination of employment, would be suitable for this unprecedented situation.

The new plan would give “James E. Delany, who has overseen the league since 1989, and a powerful committee of conference presidents the ability to penalize individual members of an institution, should their actions significantly harm the league’s reputation” (The Chronicle). Provisions would also be set up to prevent boosters and trustees from pressuring university leaders to act in certain ways, thus empowering presidents and ADs to act with integrity and responsibility. Furthermore, it has been noted that the Big Ten”s 12-member Council of Presidents and Chancellors could potentially suspend, expel, or put a school on probation by a 70% (or eight member) vote.

All in all, the issue of punishing Penn State is tricky. If the school were to be banned from playing, there is no contingency plan in place to replace the lost games for opponents. What do you think will happen? Will the Big Ten approve this new plan? Will Penn State be banned, or is there too much at stake for that to happen? Leave your comments below.


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    July 19, 2012

    While something has to be done in a significant way, the conference commissioner and BIG 10 presidents will eventually present a conflict in interest as it relates to penalties. You’ve already pointed out the scheduling conflicts and along with that comes the loss of income to and from Penn State if football were to receive the “death penalty” I’m not suggesting that is the solution but it likely won’t even be seriously considered when put in the hands of Big 10 officials.

    Perhaps an outside governing body could exact a more lasting (and appropriate) justice for this situation. The only pressure for conference officials is public pressure (which is no small thing) but they likely won’t go far enough to penalize Penn State according to the crimes committed. With some regard for the situation at hand, conference officials will only go far enough to appease public opinion to protect the reputation (read revenue) and good name of the BIG 10, and not one “dime” farther. Penn State football is still one of the most powerful and successful programs in college football. This is not SMU!

    We’ll all see very soon.

  • Mark Mlinaz
    July 19, 2012

    Ban Penn State from Bowl Games for 3 years. Eliminate 15 scholaships per year for 3 years. Allow any Penn State player to transfer to another Division 1 school and be allowed to play immediately.