It’s no secret the Big Ten has some big things cooking. USC and UCLA are coming in 2024, and the conference just finalized a $7 billion media deal that includes escalators for adding even more schools.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren isn’t being quiet about his plans to do just that. A little over a week after the announcement of the TV deal, Warren will appear on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, airing Tuesday. To get the word out, HBO released parts of the conversation to the media, including some remarks on expansion and paying players, which you can see and hear in the video below.
Later, he was asked about further expansion of the conference and the state of college football with teams leaving their current situations.
BRYANT GUMBEL: Right now, we are having a major realignment in collegiate sports.
KEVIN WARREN: And I think during that period there’s gonna be a lot of disruption. And that’s okay. We need to embrace it if we want to make sure that we continually build college athletics in a position where it’s here 100 and 200 years from now.
BRYANT GUMBEL: You’re at 16 teams now. Could you foresee 20?
KEVIN WARREN: I could. Yeah. I could see perpetual and future growth.
This news is massive for the Big Ten, and college football in general. Teams like Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon and others have been rumored to also join for quite some time, but now those rumors are coming closer to reality. Warren wants the Big Ten to be at the top of college football. His time in the NFL has translated to many of the decisions he has made to this point. The noon/3:30/primetime slate of Saturday games on different network is the perfect example of that.
Setting up a system for paying athletes is going to mean better recruiting, better competition and more money for everyone in the long run. However, Title IX and NCAA stipulations are going to pose some pretty serious speed bumps along the way. More than likely, the Big Ten would have to split from the NCAA if it was going to make a decision like this.
But they wouldn’t be the only ones who have discussed it. The College Football Playoff Board brought up the exact same idea last week, per reports. The closer we get to money being given to players, the closer we are to the disbanding of the collegiate athletics as we currently know it. It seems like Warren wants to spearhead this change, and that is only going to mean good things for those in the Big Ten.