Bruce Hooley
Bruce Hooley

Bruce Hooley was sports editor of the Troy Daily News from 1983-86 and has covered Ohio State athletics for more than 25 years. Bruce was the OSU beat reporter for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland from 1987-2005.  From 2005-2011 he hosted the afternoon show on  ESPN radio 1460 AM,  in Columbus, and recently took another ESPN talk position on WKNR, 850 AM, in Cleveland.  In addition to his contribution to Press Pros Magazine, Hooley is a regular columnist for


Big Ten athletic directors sold out this week at the behest of commissioner Jim Delany when they reversed a previously-stated position to play future national championship semifinal football playoff games on campus sites.

Columbus – Important people have a way of speaking that can make their points sound salient, no matter how ridiculous.

That’s even truer among the self-important, which brings us to Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and the Dozen Dwarfs, also known as the 12 puppets masquerading as athletic directors at the league’s member schools.

All of them sold out this week at the behest of Delany when they reversed a previously-stated position to play future national championship semifinal football playoff games on campus sites.

The Big Ten has bellyached for years about losing to Southeastern Conference and Pacific 12 opponents in warm-weather locations at some major bowl.

Delany made a grandstand play awhile back to re-order the geography of the national championship chase by hosting semifinals on campus when the BCS gets shelved after its current TV contract runs out following the 2013 season.

Big Ten fans salivated at the prospect of playing Alabama, LSU or USC in frigid Columbus, Ann Arbor or Madison as a pathway to play for the national title.

Whether the proposal had a serious chance of approval no longer matters because the Big Ten bailed on it before a proper airing. Delany sprinkled whatever magic dust he uses to mesmerize his minions and the athletic directors emerged from their meeting spouting the virtue of playing future semifinals at existing bowl sites.

In other words, at the same places where the league has been getting waxed for the better part of three decades.

The reasons given to justify the Big Ten’s collapse on home playoff games is as laughable as it is illogical.

Nebraska AD Tom Osborne said bowl semifinals are essential to preserve the future of the bowls. But in the same breath, he and others advocate playing the future national championship game at a site determined by an open bidding process.

So, it’s paramount to preserve the bowls, but it’s OK to take the biggest game of the season to a place where a bowl isn’t played?

The other reason given, by Michigan State’s Mark Hollis, is that players adamantly want to continue to experience a bowl trip as a reward for a successful season.

Well, okey dokey, then why did the athletic directors emerge from the exact same meeting lobbying for an increase in the mandatory win total for bowl eligibility to rise from six wins to seven wins per-season?

Former Buckeye beat writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Bruce Hooley is a regular contributor to Press Pros Magazine and the afternoon host for ESPN radio on 850 AM, WKNR, in Cleveland.

If that standard had been in effect this past year, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois and Northwestern would have stayed home and not played in the post-season.

The only vestige of honor from Delany and his lackeys is their stated preoccupation with preserving their berth in the Rose Bowl. That, they all agree, must be protected at all cost – even if the cost will eventually fall upon fans travelling to a conference title game, a semifinal game in the South or West, and then a national title game – all within a month.

But, yet again, the brainiacs at the B1G fail to recognize the glaring reality right in front of them. The Rose Bowl has a history of bypassing better at-large teams from other leagues to take inferior fallback choices from the Big Ten.

In the end, then, Delany and his shortsighted underlings compromised on something that would have given them a better chance of winning a national title (on-campus playoff games) to preserve something they were in no danger of losing (an annual trip to Pasadena).

I guess that’s why they say you can’t put a price on genius.

Bruce Hooley is a former sports editor of the Troy Daily News and author of, “That’s Why I’m Here: The Chris and Stefanie Spielman Story.”
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