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Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren Named as Chicago Bears President and CEO

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: The Big Ten Conference Logo out side of Bankers Life Field House with no fans around after the Big Ten Conference cancelled the mens Big Ten Tournament due to concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19), on March 12, 2020 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kevin Warren’s time as the Big Ten commissioner has been anything if not eventful, but now it is over.

The Chicago Bears have named Warren as their new President and CEO, effectively ending his three-and-a-half year as the Big Ten commissioner.

Warren is the fifth President in the Bears’ 103-year history and the first Black team president in Bears’ history.

“I am honored and recognize the responsibility bestowed upon me to lead the Chicago Bears during this exciting and pivotal time for the franchise,” Warren said in the Bears’ release. “I look forward to building on the rich tradition that started with George Halas and connecting with the unique and vibrant fanbase in Chicago. I join the Chicago Bears with gratitude and drive to carry out and build upon the legacy and spirit of this founding franchise and my predecessors.”

Warren was hired as the Big Ten commissioner on June 4, 2019, and his first major hurdle as the leader of the conference was navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. He initially canceled the football season but changed his mind and ran a shortened season.

During Warren’s time as commissioner, the Big Ten formed ‘The Alliance’ with the ACC and Pac-12 conferences, but it was short-lived as USC and UCLA left the Pac-12 for the Big Ten a year later.

Warren’s role in facilitating the Big Ten’s growth also coincided with increased revenue and a new media deal. The Big Ten completed a 7-year, $7 billion deal with Fox, CBS and NBC in August, with an estimated windfall of $80-100 million to be distributed to the 16 member schools.

Any further realignment talks in college football will now be left up to Warren’s yet-to-be-determined successor.

Warren’s jump to the NFL isn’t uncharted waters for the now-former commissioner. He spent five years with the St. Louis Rams in a front office role from 1997-2001, three years with the Detroit Lions as the Senior Vice President of Business Operations & General Counsel and 15 years with the Minnesota Vikings — ending his time as the COO.

Warren will begin his work with the Bears in the spring, and the Big Ten will look for a new commissioner.

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