Is the Big Ten looking to add more teams? Here are the commissioner’s latest comments
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren addressed future expansion plans in a new interview with The Athletic
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has a busy few years ahead as he and other conference leaders look to integrate USC and UCLA, manage new media relationships and prepare for the expansion of the College Football Playoff.
That doesn’t leave him much time to convince even more teams to join the Big Ten, as Warren told The Athletic this week.
He said he hasn’t totally “pushed pause” on potential new additions, but that he’s focusing most of his energy on other projects.
“I’m always mindful of what’s going on at different conferences and the different markets and what’s happening,” Warren told The Athletic. “But right now, we’ve got to make sure we take care of our business.”
After news broke at the end of June that USC and UCLA were leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, the growing conference has been repeatedly linked to other Pac-12 schools, including Oregon and Washington. Warren has also expressed interest in adding Notre Dame.
During an August appearance on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Warren said he could eventually see the Big Ten conference expanding to 20 teams, as the Deseret News reported at the time.
“It will be at 16 when USC and UCLA join the conference in two years,” the article said.
In the new interview with The Athletic, Warren didn’t walk back those comments, but he did say factors like media rights deals make further expansion more complicated than many fans realize.
“That’s one reason why I just want to make sure we stay strong and fortified in the Big Ten Conference to be prepared if a unique opportunity or opportunities arise for us and it makes sense for our member institutions that we’re in a position to do it,” he said.
In the short term, Warren said he and other Big Ten leaders will stay focused on working out the issues that are already on their plate, like how to incorporate West Coast trips into already jam-packed travel schedules.
“We’re analyzing what makes sense,” he said. “We’ve got to be smart.”