Speaking to reporters about the Big Ten title game Sunday afternoon, commissioner Jim Delany said he was not angry at Jim Tressel or how Ohio State was handling their NCAA case invovling several players taking extra benefits. In a line surely to get him a call from PETA, Delany deflected talk that he was upset and feels that the school will eventually move past the bad prediciment they find themselves in.
"I kind of reserve anger for my dog, I try not to get terribly angry. I was disappointed, I wish it hadn't happened," he recalled upon receiving the news. "It wouldn't be accurate for me to say I was angry. I knew it was serious but I don't remember going into a rage.
"I would say that whenever you have a program, or programs, that operate at the level of exposure and public notoriety as ours do, when things don't go well it's not going to be a fun time. It's been hard on the coach, it's been hard on the players, it's been hard on the fans. I will tell you that at the same time, the test is how resilient are you? How do you manage this kind of challenge?
"It's not easy for Ohio State, it's not easy for the Big Ten but I have tremendous confidence in that program to be resilient and to do the right thing and to reestablish themselves."
An attorney and a former NCAA enforcement agent, Delany has handled his fair share of infractions cases at multiple stops in his career. As the situation in Columbus seemingly takes a new twist every week though, he did say there were plenty of lessons to be learned for all of the conference's schools.
"I think that the number one lesson is, from my perspective, is that when you're in a position of responsibility - as an athletic director, a president, a head football coach - and you come across a certain kind of information, the responsibility and duty arrises to do something with that information," Delany said. "Going back 20 years, we've been working with our institutions about processes and procedures with how you handle information in that situation."
Delany has been criticized for his role in lobbying the NCAA for the so-called 'Buckeye Five' to be eligible for Ohio State's appearance in the Sugar Bowl last season. While he vaguly addressed the criticism, he did note that his actions were based on what he knew at the time.
"At the time that I was involved with the eligibility issues, I took the facts as they were presented to me," Delany said. "I analyzed it and for me, a lot of that has been written about that, but for me there wasn't a coach involvement, there wasn't a booster involvement, there wasn't an agent involvement, there kids that made some bad judgements. So on that basis, we forwarded the information to the NCAA and they made the decision that they made about the Sugar Bowl."
The involvement of Tressel, the now former Buckeyes head coach, did seem to take Delany back given all that has been revealed. He said that the facts of the case have generally been agreed to by all parties and realizes that sometimes even people you know best will withold information.
"I was surprised to find out in January that Coach Tressel had previous knowledge about that. I guess I'm enough of a realist to know that can happen," Delany said. "I knew it was a very serious matter because I know, we've said for a long, long time, making it very clear to our coaches and our athletic directors and our faculty, that when that kind of information becomes available you have no choice. Your only choice is to forward it through the system. I recognized at the time that the failure to forward it through the system was a fundamental error and I wasn't exactly sure how the NCAA or the institution would handle it. I was disappointed, I was surprised, but I've been around long enough to know that those things happen."