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Ex-Big Ten commissioner Wayne Duke had crystal ball

Updated: November 5, 2011 5:19PM

Former Big Ten commissioner Wayne Duke surveyed the hoopla surrounding the conference’s annual media days Thursday and Friday at the McCormick Place Hyatt, recalling when he started the event 40 years ago and acknowledging a prediction he made 20 years ago.

Duke, who was commissioner from 1971 to 1989, figured the Big Ten would realign at some point. But he also had a feeling back in the late 1980s and early 1990s that college football would face scandals such as the one that took down coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State.

‘‘I predicted what is happening today with the realignments of college conferences and the greed, and I’m very disappointed with what I see,’’ Duke said. ‘‘I’ve said that for a long time, but I also understand that a lot of things have changed.’’

Badgers news

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said he is looking forward to the Badgers’ game Sept. 17 at Soldier Field against Northern Illinois. Bielema will be coaching against his close friend and former defensive coordinator Dave Doeren, who replaced Jerry Kill after last season.

Bielema then switched gears and had harsh words for programs that don’t abide by NCAA rules.

‘‘If I had a dream world, I would say hammer the guys that don’t do things right,’’ Bielema said. ‘‘People are willingly and knowingly abusing rules. .  .  . When you consciously break an NCAA rule, the only way to deter that is to get rid of people or seriously hold programs accountable.’’

Recalling mistakes

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said he can sympathize with first-year Ohio State coach Luke Fickell because he also was thrown into a head-coaching job under unfortunate circumstances with the death of Randy Walker
in 2006.

‘‘I thought I did a terrible job managing,’’ Fitzgerald said. ‘‘You go from a need-to-know basis to a need to know everything. I was an unbelievable linebacker head football coach, let me put it to you that way. I was horrible.’’

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