Chicago Tribune

Jim Delany's run as Big Ten commissioner ends Jan. 1. And when it comes to his 30-year tenure, he has few regrets.

ROSEMONT, Ill. - As Jim Delany exited the Lucas Oil Stadium field with wife Kitty after the Dec. 7 Big Ten championship game, a fan decked in Ohio State gear near the tunnel hollered: "Hey! Best commissioner ever!"

Delany nodded to acknowledge the man known to Buckeyes fans as "Tennessee Jeff" Hamms. But he did not break stride.

"People have yelled good things and bad things," Delany told the Tribune, chuckling. "It depends oftentimes whether you win or lose. I appreciate fans, but I don't think commissioners are per se supposed to be popular."

During his 30 years at the helm of the Big Ten - which officially ends Jan. 1 - Delany's approval rating has ranged from roughly 0 to 100, depending on the timing and source of opinion.

Big Ten presidents and chancellors worship him for the wads of cash that flow to their campuses each year, allowing them to construct jaw-dropping facilities and offer top dollar to coaches.

Some Midwestern fans cursed him for rotating the Big Ten basketball tournament to Washington and New York.

Parents of Big Ten soccer and volleyball players should love him whenever they get to watch their kids appear on BTN telecasts.

Hordes of college football fans resented his loyalty to the Rose Bowl over his willingness to greenlight a college football playoff.

Most Penn State and Nebraska fans appreciate him for their inclusion in the conference.

SEC fans howled when he took a shot at the league's

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