The Ed O'Bannon case could have widespread impact on college athletics, and Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany believes that it could very much affect the status of his conference. Delany states that the Big Ten might have to relegate the importance of college athletics or transition it to a Division III-type model where schools do not offer grants to athletes.
Via Andy Staples of Sports Illustrated, here's what Delany had to say about the case and how it could impact schools.
"...it has been my longstanding belief that The Big Ten's schools would forgo the revenues in those circumstances and instead take steps to downsize the scope, breadth and activity of their athletic programs," Delany wrote. "Several alternatives to a 'pay for play' model exist, such as the Division III model, which does not offer any athletics-based grants-in-aid, and, among others, a need-based financial model. These alternatives would, in my view, be more consistent with The Big Ten's philosophy that the educational and lifetime economic benefits associated with a university education are the appropriate quid pro quo for its student athletes."
The current case still has not been formally certified, but Judge Claudia Wilken could potentially do so this summer and place the NCAA in a precarious situation. The ruling body of college athletics would almost certainly have to settle to avoid the possibility of losing a significant chunk of their television revenue.
Numerous other conference leaders have stepped up and denounced the case, as they probably also recognize the financial difficulties they could face if the suit went through, but it has to be considered highly unlikely that Delany would take this ten steps backwards approach to try and adapt to the new rules.