To mark the start of his 25th year as commissioner of the Big Ten, Jim Delany has embarked on a tour of the 12 members' football preseason camps, setting down yesterday at Ohio State.

To mark the start of his 25th year as commissioner of the Big Ten, Jim Delany has embarked on a tour of the 12 members' football preseason camps, setting down yesterday at Ohio State.

Although he has been to every school many times, Delany had done a preseason football tour only once previously, the year he took office in 1989. College football has come a long way since then, and so has the attention it commands, he said.

"What we've probably wrought is, college football is the second-most popular sport in the country," Delany said. "It used to share space with NBA, major league baseball (and) hockey. NFL has been at the top of the heap for a long time."College football is continuing its upward trajectory, and there are a lot of people involved."

That helps explain the attention that recent off-field issues for two Ohio State players has been getting, not to mention the spotlight on Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M.

"My take on it is probably human nature hasn't changed very much (over that span); the coverage of human nature has changed dramatically," Delany said. "In the last 20 years, we went from a sport that was local or regional to one that is national; from one that had three networks covering it to now it's got all the major networks, Twitter, (newspapers), Instagram, Facebook.

"So I think individuals - young people and older people - have to conform their conduct because more and more is public. And really, we're all human beings that make mistakes."

Delany said he tries to refrain judgment on any situation until the facts are in. But he also understands the zeal of others.

"The public is passionate about college football," he said. "It doesn't make a difference if the kids are 18, 19, 20, they're still public figures. So I think what we're really seeing is convergence of a passionate fan base with uber-coverage and human beings making mistakes.

"But there's an awful lot of information that gets out prematurely and oftentimes taints a player, and ultimately the player is not guilty of the offense. That has to be worked through in a fair way by the institution, the team and the coach, and we work at that."

What coach Urban Meyer has had to deal with in the past few weeks pales in comparison with the tumult that Ohio State went through two years ago. Jim Tressel, who coached Ohio State to the 2002 national championship - the last Big Ten team to win the title - was forced to resign after not reporting potential NCAA rules violations that turned out to involve several players, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, accepting free and discounted tattoos, sometimes in exchange for memorabilia.

As punishment for those violations and other, unrelated ones, Ohio State's scholarship limit was cut from 85 to 82 through next season and the Buckeyes were banned from the postseason last year, when they went 12-0 in Meyer's first season. Now the Buckeyes are favored not only in the Big Ten but also for a spot in the national championship game."I think Ohio State not only has stabilized but is on a strong trajectory forward," Delany said. "The case was an unfortunate case, some made some mistakes, but I was always so confident of the leadership of the institution - the president, the athletic director, the faculty, the board of trustees did everything right. They reported what they knew when they knew it. There was no delay in that. Obviously, they accepted their sanctions, moved forward.

"They've got a new coach in Coach Meyer, who has been successful every place he has been. He's from the state of Ohio. So the leadership there is powerful, and the Buckeyes, I'm sure, have high expectations for themselves."But that's why we play the games, and it's going to be just a great year."