Jim Delany Calls for More Athlete Benefits, but Not Pay

Recent comments made by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and reported by USA Today echoes calls made by the Knight Commission in its March 2001 report, A Call to Action, that urged the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) “to develop minor leagues so that athletes not interested in undergraduate study are provided an alternative route to professional careers.”

USA Today reported that Delany called for colleges to “work with the NFL and NBA to create opportunities for athletes who aren’t interested in attending school.” In 2006, the NBA’s official minor league, the NBA Development League, loosened its age restrictions lowering the minimum age to play to 18. The NBA requires players to be 19 and one year out of high school in order to sign an NBA contract.