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June 24, 2014

For Immediate Release

Contact: Scott Chipman, Big Ten Conference


ROSEMONT, Ill. While testifying last week in the O'Bannon trial in Oakland, Calif., Big Ten Commissioner James E.
Delany spoke to the importance of the inextricable link between academics and athletics as part of the collegiate model,
and to the value of establishing a 21st century system to meet the educational needs of current and future student-
athletes. During his testimony, Delany conveyed sentiments long supported by the conference and its member
institutions. Today, the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten schools issue the following statement signed by the
leaders of each institution:

As another NCAA season concludes with baseball and softball championships, college athletics is under fire. While
football players at Northwestern fight for collective bargaining, former athletes are suing to be compensated for the use
of their images.

Football and mens basketball are at issue. Compensating the student-athletes who compete in these sports will skew
the overall academic endeavor for all students, not just those wearing a schools colors.

The best solutions rest not with the courts, but with us presidents of the very universities that promote and respect the
values of intercollegiate competition. Writing on behalf of all presidents of the Big Ten Conference, we must address the
conflicts that have led us to a moment where the conversation about college sports is about compensation rather than

The tradition and spirit of intercollegiate athletics is unique to our nation. Students play as part of their overall academic
experience, not for a paycheck or end-of-season bonus. Many also compete in hopes of a professional career, just as our
biology majors serve internships and musical theater students perform in summer stock. These opportunities sports,
marching band, campus newspaper, and more are facets of the larger college experience and prepare students for life.
And that, in its purest form, is the mission of higher education.

The reality of intercollegiate athletics is that only a miniscule number of students go on to professional sports careers. In
the sports that generate the greatest revenue and attention, football sees 13 percent of Big Ten players drafted by the
NFL and basketball sees 6 percent from our conference drafted for NBA play.

For those student-athletes who are drafted, their professional careers average fewer than five years. They still have
several decades and, potentially, several careers ahead of them in which to succeed. And their college experience their
overall academic experience should be what carries them forward.

This is why we propose working within the NCAA to provide greater academic security and success for our student-

We must guarantee the four-year scholarships that we offer. If a student-athlete is no longer able to compete,
for whatever reason, there should be zero impact on our commitment as universities to deliver an undergraduate
education. We want our students to graduate.

If a student-athlete leaves for a pro career before graduating, the guarantee of a scholarship remains firm.
Whether a professional career materializes, and regardless of its length, we will honor a students scholarship when his
or her playing days are over. Again, we want students to graduate.

We must review our rules and provide improved, consistent medical insurance for student-athletes. We have an
obligation to protect their health and well-being in return for the physical demands placed upon them.

We must do whatever it takes to ensure that student-athlete scholarships cover the full cost of a college
education, as defined by the federal government. That definition is intended to cover what it actually costs to attend

Across the Big Ten, and in every major athletic conference, football and mens basketball are the principal revenue
sports. That money supports the men and women competing in all other sports. No one is demanding paychecks for our
gymnasts or wrestlers. And yet it is those athletes in swimming, track, lacrosse, and other so-called Olympic sports
who will suffer the most under a pay-to-play system.

The revenue creates more opportunities for more students to attend college and all that provides, and to improve the
athletic experiences through improved facilities, coaching, training and support.

If universities are mandated to instead use those dollars to pay football and basketball players, it will be at the expense
of all other teams. We would be forced to eliminate or reduce those programs. Paying only some athletes will create
inequities that are intolerable and potentially illegal in the face of Title IX.

The amateur model is not broken, but it does require adjusting for the 21st century. Whether we pay student-athletes is
not the true issue here. Rather, it is how we as universities provide a safe, rewarding and equitable environment for our
student-athletes as they pursue their education.

We believe that the intercollegiate athletics experience and the educational mission are inextricably linked.
Professionalizing specific sports or specific participants will bring about intended as well as likely unintended
consequences in undermining the educational foundation of these programs, on Big Ten campuses and others
throughout the country

Higher education provides young people with options in life to thrive in the future. For a tiny minority, that future will be
a professional sports career and all of its rewards. For all graduates athletes and non-athletes it is the overall
academic experience that is a lifetime source of compensation in the form of a well-rounded education.


Sally Mason, chair, Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and president, University of Iowa

Phyllis Wise, chancellor, University of Illinois

Michael McRobbie, president, Indiana University

Wallace Loh, president, University of Maryland

Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Michigan

Lou Anna K. Simon, president, Michigan State University

Eric Kaler, president, University of Minnesota

Harvey Perlman, chancellor, University of Nebraska

Morton Schapiro, president, Northwestern University

Joseph A. Alutto, interim president, Ohio State University

Eric J. Barron, president, Penn State University

Mitch Daniels, president, Purdue University

Robert L. Barchi, president, Rutgers University

Rebecca Blank, chancellor, University of Wisconsin

Brett McWethy | Associate Director, Communications | Big Ten Conference
Office: 847.696.1010 ext.142 | Cell: 815.751.1015 | Fax: 847.696.1150 |