CHICAGO -- Before the Big Ten football coaches met with the media and put a happy face on the league's 2011 season, they got something of a lecture behind closed doors.
Commissioner Jim Delany spoke to the league's 12 coaches about rules compliance, what he called "an opportunity to look them in the eye." He had fresh cautionary tales from the probation assessed to Michigan last fall and the upcoming hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions for Ohio State.
"I wanted to call them together today and speak to them candidly and from the heart, explain to them that in many ways the game is as healthy as it's ever been," Delany said. "But also, in my view, we have as a conference been hurt by the two institutions that have been involved in NCAA allegations and findings, and that I wanted to let them know that I expected them to lead their programs in a way that wouldn't put us in that circumstance again.
"I felt very comfortable with a very candid reaction. I think everybody understands where we're going and why we're going in that direction."
Delany said the current NCAA model is outdated, describing it as "a system established in the '50s and stuck in the '70s." But he held member institutions responsible for that, reminding everyone that the schools make the rules, not the NCAA itself. And as long as the current rules are on the books, he wants them complied with in the Big Ten.
The shining counterpoint to the problems at Michigan and Ohio State is the presence of Joe Paterno. He's in his 46th season at Penn State and still without a major violation on his watch.
"I'm proud of that," Paterno said. "But I'm not going around gloating about it."