Big Ten Media Days: Commissioner Discusses Adding USC, UCLA

G-10 commissioner Kevin Warren made his first public comment on Tuesday morning since conference approved USC and UCLA admission starting in 2024, ending nearly a century of school relationships with what is now Pak-12.

Here are five takeaways from Warren’s 45-minute press conference to kick off the Big Ten Football Media Days in Indianapolis:

USC and UCLA become full members

UCLA-based The Times reporter Ben Bolch was at Lucas Oil Stadium and asked Warren if USC and UCLA would join as full members, meaning they would get the same. income distribution like the current 14 members.

“USC and UCLA will become full members,” Warren said. “They bring a lot of value to our relationship, a lot of panache to our relationship. We look forward to welcoming them to the big ten in 2024.”

“Chic” was the right word. Whatever happens that USC, UCLA, and the Los Angeles market will bring with them the Midwest-based, now national Big Ten, it is widely believed that their entry into the league will result in the next package of media rights, the Big tens” will exceed $1 billion.

And Warren’s promise that USC and UCLA will receive the same amount as the states of Michigan and Ohio from day one is welcome news for the Trojans and Bruins, who will want to quickly catch up with their new colleagues. conference in college sports. arms race.

Warren has been eyeing USC and UCLA since 2019.

Warren said he was evaluation of expansion options since the day he was interviewed for the role of Big Ten commissioner, which he took over in September 2019, succeeding longtime leader Jim Delaney.

According to him, USC and UCLA have always been attractive targets for him.

“We had to think ahead of time about what we needed to do,” Warren said. “You look at some of the alumni of USC, Steven Spielberg of UCLA, Jackie Robinson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Stan Smith of USC, you think of all the different positive, influential alumni, which have a variety of backgrounds. …

“In 2019, I studied every university across the country, and one of the things that caught my eye at USC and UCLA is that the largest proportion of Big Ten graduates outside of the Midwest are In Los Angeles”.

Warren wants to be brave

Warren said in his opening statement that The Big Ten is open to future expansion.

Of course, Warren wasn’t talking about specific schools, but Notre Dame is an obvious next target.

“Where we are right now, my focus is on being realistic about the state of college athletics, about taking responsibility for shaping college athletics, being brave, being strong, being innovative,” said Warren. “In terms of expansion, I get asked every single day, ‘What’s next? This may include expansion in the future, but it will be done for the right reasons, at the right time, with the academic and athletic capabilities of our student-athletes at the center of any decisions we make. We will not expand just for the sake of expanding. It will be strategic. This will add additional value to our conference.”

Warren backs playoff expansion

Warren said he supports expanding the College Football playoffs. He also stressed that his desire was to have multiple media partners in the playoffs, not just ESPN, which was speculated to be one of the reasons the Big Ten (which has Fox as its primary media partner) ) did not vote for an extended playoff. Earlier this year.

“I’m 100% in favor of expanding the College Football playoffs,” Warren said. “What is the correct number, we will figure it out. I remain a firm believer that we need to open it in order to have multiple media partners. We need to take a holistic approach and make sure we protect some of the critical relationships between bowls.”

Warren said the G-10 are “closing our deals” in the current round of media rights talks, and that he looks forward to the announcement soon.

If Notre Dame decides to join the Big Ten, these deals will certainly take a different form than if the Fighting Irish remained independent from football after the negotiation window ends.

” [financial] goal we’re looking for, we’re still working on it,” Warren said, “but like I said, even regardless of the size of the deal, what I’m most excited about is the creativity of what we’re going to deliver to our fans, our student athletes and their families. From the point of view of media partners, I am very conscientiously focusing not on money, but on how we can deliver content in a way that has never happened before in college athletics.”