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Monday, December 13, 2010
Jim Delany on divisions names/logo (Part II)

By Adam Rittenberg

Here's the second half of my interview with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany on the league's new football division names, logo and football trophies. Check out Part I as well.

With the logo, I see the connection to the past. What parts of it connect you to the present and to the future?

Jim Delany: I think the smaller usage is very adaptable to new media, and it's a smaller mark [logo]. Just like ESPN was not always ESPN, that's very adaptable. And the stacked and the horizontal give you a lot of ways to use it. We're big, strong, classical. I think the lettering on the old mark was powerful. This lettering is maybe a little less powerful because it's rounded and not nearly as chiseled. Maybe we didn't go from Hummer to convertible. Maybe we went from Hummer to a Prius, I don't know.

So the adaptability, is that what you like most about it?

JD: I think so. It's very adaptable. It's connected to the past. I'm not suggesting it's the Swoosh because it's not. But all of these marks, I remember when we did the first one 20 years ago, people looked at it and they weren't enamored by it right away. They said, 'How could you do Big Ten with 11,' and so forth. But I don't expect people to fall in love or embrace it [immediately] because I don't think that's what marks do. I think marks grow and take on meaning, based on memories and emotions over time. And then it becomes more familiar. And then it becomes yours.

Were you going into this with the idea of having so many new trophies?

JD: No, those two things are connected, the Legends/Leaders and building on the people. Those two concepts are connected.

What do you think about having some active coaches in the trophy names and quite a few people who are still alive?

JD: I don't feel restricted by some etiquette. I think we've got some unbelievable people who are active, Archie [Griffin] and Joe Paterno and Fitz [Pat Fitzgerald]. I don't think there's any reason to ignore them. I think there's a reason to embrace them and who they are and what they do. It makes it living. We've got some people who have been dead for 50 years and we've got people who are still participating. I think it shows continuity.

Overall, when will it be appropriate to judge these new elements?

JD: I don't think anything that deals with art or branding or names, you can judge it. I think time will tell. The question is whether it's sustainable, whether it's enduring and whether we're able to bring it to life. It's not a contest to see how quickly you can gain approval in the first hour of the unveiling. Would love to have it, but I think this stuff is judged as sort of how it works over time.