Aug. 1, 2005
"I would like to welcome you all to the 110th year of Big Ten football, certainly one of the most enduring brands of sports in the country and arguably one of the most respected. In our league, we've had a great deal of success and we're very proud of that. That doesn't happen overnight and there are lots of people who make contributions, from our fans to our coaches, administrators, and media partners. One of the things we are most proud of is our performance on the field and the conduct of our players. I think we're all a little concerned when we see people act out in unsportsmanlike manners. Sportsmanship and good conduct is not born, it's learned. Our coaches do a great job in practice teaching techniques and teaching respect. When you see the players on the field in such a competitive situation and with that level of respect its gratifying. It's something we work at."
On the new BCS:
"It will include new opportunities and increased opportunities for our conferences that did not have automatic bids. I will tell you this, it was a marathon. First with what to do followed by how to provide additional access. It was a long and difficult negotiation that started with ABC and ended up with FOX. Not just with the Rose Bowl, which successfully ended up with ABC, but also with all the other bowls. Kevin Weinberg did a masterful job guiding us through this process and I don't know how he was able to do his other job, leading a group that is not easy to lead. When the BCS was first introduced, I think a lot of fans and a lot of media thought this was the pre-cursor to a playoff system. I think it's clear now that this is a long term solution. This is not a commissioner-driven decision, this is a decision that most coaches and a super-majority of presidents are firmly behind."
On instant replay:
"We were fortunate to have the support of our coaches and administrators to experiment with instant replay. As you know we play in some difficult situations, including some very harsh weather. We really got what I think was fair and supportive feedback and coverage from the NCAA and the media, both print media and television in particular. We didn't know what to expect. We don't have an independent system, we don't have the 10 to 12 million dollars to invest in that, but by and large it turned out well. It matched up well with our pilot program, from 2003. We ended up with around one replay per game and a 50 percent turnover rate. The success has allowed other conferences around the country to begin to experiment on their own. There will be differences and I am sure everyone will focus on those differences. Hopefully we'll eventually be able to settle in to a consistent protocol for college football."
On the 2005 season:
"We have four teams that have received preseason recognition, in the top 10 and in the top five. We also have a lot of returning quarterbacks and lots of returning players. We have a few new coaches in our conference and some veteran coaches. Sixty-seven of our 70 home games will be televised in one form or another, either internationally or on web-based technology, around the country on cable or in some cases on direct television to different regions. So 67 out of 70 is probably an unprecedented amount of coverage. It certainly doesn't keep people away, television tends to market the game and drive people towards the game. And it creates parity; we've had 7 different champions in the last 10 years, 9 in the last 15. It used to be a thought in the 1960's and the `70s that only one or two programs had a chance to win the Big Ten each year. Now we have more opportunities for teams to get a piece of the pie, to get to the Rose Bowl."