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Tom Bowl Tribute to Jim Delany

The Tom Bowl salutes Tom Bowl Hall of Famer and long time supporter Jim Delaney for his tenure as Big Ten Commissioner. No one has been as big a supporter of the Tom Bowl as Jim Delaney. Since his first letter to the Tom Bowl for 1997's Tom Bowl IX, Jim Delany has been a staunch supporter of all things Tom Bowl. Coincidentally, the Tom Bowl began play in 1989. The same year Jim was appointed commissioner of the Big Ten.

In honor of Jim, the Tom Bowl announces the creation of the Delaney Bowl which will invite the two best Big Ten teams from each conference that did not receive an invitation to a bowl game.


Email exchange with the Big Ten and note from Jim Delany

Quoting Big Ten - Mark Rudner <>:

Dear Tom Bowl-

As you know Commissioner Jim Delany was an early and ardent supporter of the Tom Bowl.

And as you also probably know Commissioner Delany will Be retiring (on Jan. 1) after a long and distinguished 41+ year career in college athletics administration, the last 30 years at the Big Ten.

I am writing to determine if you and the Tom Bowl board and staff would want to acknowledge his support of the bowl and college football.

Perhaps you could invite Jim to be the grand Marshall of your parade, do the coin toss, provide color commentary on the tv broadcast (once a media partner is secured), kiss babies, do a halftime lecture on the Spanish-American war or constitutional law...just some ideas.

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you.
Yours in football ,

Mark Rudner
Senior Associate Commissioner
BIG Ten Conference

Date: October 13, 2019 at 10:15:05 AM CDT
To: Big Ten - Mark Rudner
Subject: Re: Jim Delany
Dear Mr. Rudner:

Thank you for your note. The Tom Bowl has great appreciation for the contribution Jim Delany made to all things Tom Bowl. It is for this reason, that in 2003, the Tom Bowl inducted Jim into the Tom Bowl Hall of Fame. Among all of college football, there has been no bigger supporter of the Tom Bowl than Jim Delaney. It's also why, when requested, we sent Jim an official Tom Bowl Hall of Fame Certificate of Membership of which we have no doubt is prominently displayed in his office.

The Tom Bowl likes most of your suggestions, as all of them seem to be fitting tributes to Jim. However, it may prove difficult to find some babies for him to kiss but we do have a cat if that is acceptable. In addition to naming Jim Grand Marshal, performing the coin toss, providing TV commentary and the halftime lecture on the Spanish-American War we were also wondering if Jim might bring a team or two with him as we have had difficulties getting anyone to show up for the game. We do understand the zero dollar payout is a deterrent along with the lack of a TV broadcast agreement or even a sizable crowds but we still think the 1997 matchup between Nebraska and Michigan would have been a sight to behold. We do reserve the right to believe that past Tom Bowl invitees may have just gotten lost on the way to the game so maybe Jim can help them with their GPS.

In addition to the above, we will be adding a special tribute to Jim on the Tom Bowl website. We will let you know when it is complete.

Thank you for reaching out to us. As you know, the Tom Bowl is the only major college bowl game not sanctioned by the NCAA. We are very excited to enter our third decade of providing scoreless ties in an attempt to answer the true #1 team in college football. Although we had nothing to do with it, we like to believe we had some part in creating the current college football playoff system.


Tom Cantrell
Tom Bowl President

Sent from my iPhone

From: Big Ten - Mark Rudner  
To: "" <>
Date: Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:42:19 +0000
Subject: Fwd: Jim Delany

Dear Tom Bowl sir:

I am happy to share with you Commissioner Delany’s thoughts on the Tom Bowl.  We will include your very kind and thoughtful note in the commemorative book we are preparing for Jim and his family where the Tom Bowl will forever be remembered.  

Yours in football 

Mark Rudner 
Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:
From: Mobile - Jim Delany
Date: October 13, 2019 at 11:16:46 AM CDT
To: Big Ten - Mark Rudner
Subject: Re: Jim Delany
The Tom Bowl a perfect partner over the years. Very much appreciate the Tom Bowl’s role here because in fact the vision they put forward impacted my thinking and indeed the whole college football community leading up to the formation of BCS and ultimately the CFP . Please share this note with Tom Cantrell and other Tom Bowl leaders .jim 


Letters to the
Tom Bowl from
Jim Delaney

Tom Bowl XIX

Tom Bowl XVIII

Tom Bowl XVII

Tom Bowl XIV
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Tom Bowl XI
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Tom Bowl X
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Tom Bowl IX
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