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Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Big Ten's Delany dishes on Beebe

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

At last week's Big 12 media days, commissioner Dan Beebe joked that he was in negotiations with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany to switch the names of the conference, but later mentioned that he'd heard of leagues (wink-wink) whose names didn't match the number in their membership.

He also seriously answered that the league would pursue its options on a future name. After Delany's comments on Monday, the first day of Big Ten media days, you can cross the Big Ten off that list of options.

"I think the Big Ten is the Big Ten regardless of the number," Delany said. "By the way, Beebe did not call me on that one."

But Delany continued with a few interesting anecdotes about his relationship with Beebe, who followed up Delany's ten-year tenure as commissioner of the Ohio Valley Conference with a 13-year reign of his own.

Delany said it was him who recommended Beebe for the job, and later recommended Beebe for his job as the Big 12's No. 2 man and the eventual commissioner.

"So, you know, that's why the things, the expansion, tensions are hard on fans and schools and the college community in general," Delany said. "But they're also hard on people who are friends."

He maintained that the two remain friends, but also expressed doubts about the conference's future. Luckily, Delany is a bit outside Beebe's jurisdiction, so he doesn't have to worry about fines.

"I'm very proud of how he represented his conference and how he fought for their survival. And I told him that. I said, 'I don't know if it will all hang together for you or not.' But I have a tremendous amount of respect on how he represented his institutions," Delany said. "And at the beginning of the process we tried to create a process that would allow us to communicate with each other and maintain respect for each other."