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‘The Bigger Ten?’: Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren Says Expansion Beyond USC, UCLA Possible

Speaking at the beginning of the conference’s annual football media days Tuesday, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says that the league, which added USC and UCLA, who will begin play in 2024, earlier this summer, said the conference would be open to getting even bigger.

“I get asked every single day, what’s next?” Warren said, “It may include future expansion, but it will be done for the right reasons, at the right time, with our student-athletes’ academic and athletic empowerment at the center of any and all decisions that we will make.”

Warren added that the conference won’t “expand just to expand.”
“It will add additional value to our conference.”

Warren said that he’s been looking into expanding since he was still just a candidate for the commissioners’ job back in 2019, and USC and UCLA were among the schools he examined.

In late June, seemingly out of nowhere, it came to light that both schools will be joining the Big Ten.

“A lot of work we’ve done on any potential expansion, we’ve done multiple years ago,” Warren said. “We’re always in a perpetual state of analyzing the goodness of fit for any institutions that were coming to the Big Ten conference.”

Warren also pointed out that the conference will soon be located in the country’s three largest markets– New York, Los Angeles and Chicago– which will allow the Big Ten to “provide content all the way from the morning into the night.”

Fox is the Big Ten’s primary partner for its next media agreement, and the conference has also talked with CBS, ESPN, and NBC as well as streaming services in Amazon and Apple.

“I still feel strongly that we need to open it up to have multiple media partners,” Warren said. “We need to take a holistic view. We need to make sure we protect some of the critical bowl relationships. So as we work through all these, whether it’s automatic qualifier, whatever the case may be, I’m confident as we get these new individuals in the room, get these issues on the table, that we’ll be able to reach some resolution.”

Warren emphasized taking a bold approach toward the increasing changes in college sports and said the Big Ten won’t “languish in bureaucracy.”

He also expressed his support for an expanded College Football playoff.

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