Georgia fans are very familiar with the academic excuse from Tech fans when it comes to competing in athletics. You know how it goes – Georgia has an unfair advantage because their academic standards are so much lower. Student-athletes like Reggie Ball make it a tough point to counter.
Big 10 (you know, the conference with 11 members) commissioner Jim Delany plays this card in a defensive and almost apologetic letter to conference fans. His comments make some puzzling connections between athleticism and academic standards:
I love speed and the SEC has great speed, especially on the defensive line, but there are appropriate balances when mixing academics and athletics. Each school, as well as each conference, simply must do what fits their mission regardless of what a recruiting service recommends. I wish we had six teams among the top 10 recruiting classes every year, but winning our way requires some discipline and restraint with the recruitment process. Not every athlete fits athletically, academically or socially at every university. Fortunately, we have been able to balance our athletic and academic mission so that we can compete successfully and keep faith with our academic standards.
Apparently there is an inverse relationship between speed and intelligence. Delaney should have just gone all the way and called SEC student-athletes "clean and articulate."
Can you imagine even writing this letter? Has the public perception of the Big 10(11) taken such a hit since the BCS Championship game that one of the most influential figures in college sports has to play "who is the best conference" blog parlor games? Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White called Delany "clearly the most powerful figure in college athletics." Many suggest that he is the single biggest obstacle to a college football playoff. And here he is defending his conference against the big bad SEC as if the Big 10 were the Mountain West. Is that not just a little pathetic?