NEW DELHI — The NCAA’s ‘conference carousel’ has now turned global. The Big Ten will be adding the University of Delhi to its membership of universities within the next few years, despite the school not having any sports programs.
“We will be starting up a team for each Big Ten sport,” announced the university’s Chancellor, Mohammad Hamid Ansari. “It might take us a few years to reach the competitiveness level of Ohio State in football or Indiana in basketball. Indians have learned to perform American jobs well, so how different can learning an American sport be?”
Over the past several years, schools from Division I NCAA conferences have been playing a game of musical chairs. Certain conferences, such as the Big Ten and SEC, are growing into powerhouses, while others are either settling for weaker programs or shrinking, heading for extinction. The primary motivation for all of these moves is undoubtedly money. Schools like Nebraska and Texas A&M left behind their longtime rivals in hopes of increased revenues with stronger conferences.
Maryland and Rutgers also accepted invitations last week to join the Big Ten. Analysts believe the Big Ten, which launched its own television network in 2007, invited these schools to target both the Maryland/D.C. and New York/New Jersey television markets.
Now with the Big Ten’s invite to the University of Delhi, Big Ten Commissioner James Delany is aiming for an untapped audience of one billion people. Delany doesn’t seem concerned with the potential struggle of promoting sports in a culture where it is far less prevalent.
“With its population of over 1.2 billion, there has to be a market for everything,” assures Delany.
Delany continued, “I am focused on the energy and passion that sports can bring to India. Sports are all about crushing the opponent, both physically and mentally.”
Delany recommends that Indian boys who plan to try out for the football team should “start loading up on American fast-food.”