Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany will retire at the conclusion of his current contract on June 30, 2020, the conference announced Monday.

Together with former SEC commissioner Mike Silve, Delany, 71, is chiefly responsible for ushering college sports into the post-modern era. The Big Ten was the first conference to launch its own cable network, and Delany’s addition of Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland kickstarted the expansion era that defined college sports for the first part of this decade.

Thanks to Delany’s visionary work, the Big Ten distributed more than $50 million to its members last year, and that number is only expected to rise in the next round of negotiations in the middle of the next decade. The BCS and College Football Playoff would not have happened without Delany’s blessing, either.

But now, after running the conference since 1989 — he ran the Ohio Valley Conference before the Big Ten hired him — Delany is handing the torch to someone else to lead the Big Ten into the next frontier.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity to serve and lead these preeminent institutions, presidents, administrators, coaches and students,” said Delany. “It is incredibly fulfilling to support the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have been afforded an opportunity to obtain best-in-class educations as a result of the invaluable, one-of-a-kind lessons learned through the unique combination of athletic and classroom competition. I would like to recognize and thank each of my colleagues for being such invaluable members of, and contributors to, the Big Ten Conference team, while acknowledging that there is still plenty of work to be done. I look forward to continuing that work through the balance of my term.”

A search process has already begun to identify Delany’s successor, helmed by Northwestern president Morton Schapiro and run by Korn Ferry.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.