CHICAGO – Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz raised eyebrows and ruffled Minnesota feathers earlier this year when he said the Gophers, and others, don't always walk the walk with their recruits.
Ferentz, son of Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz, said during a Des Moines Register podcast that "the new guy in Minnesota" — that'd be new head coach P.J. Fleck — and other coaches give early offers to high school players that sometimes turn out to be just a tease.
"We'll find out about the guys in Minneapolis — what does an offer really mean?" Ferentz said, adding that an offer from Iowa is always solid.
On Monday at Big Ten media days, Kirk Ferentz offered this about his son's comments: "He said what he felt. His observations, I think, were pretty accurate. But the bottom line is, looking at three schools or 103, everybody recruits a little bit differently. Everybody has a different approach. I'm not going to stand here and be judgmental and say ours is the best way. It certainly isn't. We haven't won a recruiting award in the last 18 years. We've never finished in the top 10. But our goal still is to try to be a top 10 football team in January. That's kind of where my focus is."
We'll hear from Fleck on Tuesday, when Minnesota gets a stab at the spotlight, but the coach said in February: "I am not one of those guys who has an uncommittable offer. If somebody wants to commit with our offer, they can commit."
Big Ten loves TV money
In his opening remarks, Commissioner Jim Delany officially announced the conference's new TV deals. The league finalized six-year contracts with CBS in basketball and Fox and ESPN for football and basketball, and an extended deal with the Big Ten Network now runs through 2032.
The deals reportedly net the conference $2.64 billion over six years.
Big Ten Network is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
"It's important to note that that company has been artistic, a financial success and a success in separating" the conference from others, Delany said.
Laurinaitis joins BTN
Former Wayzata and Ohio State star linebacker James Laurinaitis joined the Big Ten Network as an analyst. BTN President Mark Silverman said Laurinaitis will co-host a weekly Ohio State show for SportsTime Ohio.
"James Laurinaitis had perhaps the best screen test I've ever seen," Silverman said. "James came in and the intelligence, how thoughtful, well spoken, for somebody who literally just retired months ago, really blew us all away."
Laurinaitis, 30, retired from the NFL in April after eight seasons.
"I'm ready to work hard, be a sponge, learn and continue to watch and talk about the game I love," he said.
FCS games get the OK
Delany confirmed the league has modified its rule prohibiting games against Football Championship Series opponents.
Big Ten ADs had agreed to stop scheduling FCS opponents with the advent of a nine-game conference schedule. The reason given was that tougher nonconference scheduling became more important in the College Football Playoff system.
But Delany acknowledged that schools had difficulty scheduling in years when they have only four Big Ten home games. Delany said schools will be allowed to schedule FCS opponents in those years when they play four Big Ten home games.
Friday night blues
Delany acknowledged hearing grumbling over the decision to schedule some Friday night games.
The league announced last November that six Friday games will be played, three of those being Big Ten matchups. Opponents don't like the Big Ten stepping on high school football's traditional night.
"I think it's fair to say there's been push back," Delany said.
Not all Big Ten coaches are fans of the idea, either.
"My history as a high school coach for 15 years is strong," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "It's who I am, it's how I started. ... I think that's a special night. I don't like playing games on Friday night."