Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditSaturday, February 4, 2023

Articles tagged: Big Ten Football

Report: Kevin Warren had low approval within Big Ten

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Warren left the Big Ten this week to take a job with the Chicago Bears, and it does not sound like many within the conference were sad to see the former commissioner go.

Warren has been named the president and CEO of the Bears. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, the Big Ten “made no tangible push to keep him” after word surfaced that he was interested in the NFL front office job. That is because Warren’s approval rating with conference athletic directors was low at the time of his exit.

After Warren took the Bears job, the Big Ten issued a statement thanking him for his service and the “pivotal” role he played in expanding the conference from 14 to 16 teams. One of the issues school and conference officials had with Warren is that he did not want to stop there. Thamel says Warren’s attempts to continue expanding the conference “went against the wishes of the league’s most powerful universities and stakeholders.”

The Big Ten was in favor of adding USC and UCLA, but further expansion would mean more mouths to feed. Adding more teams would only dilute the money schools had to share.

All of that was likely a factor in why Warren wanted to return to the NFL. The 59-year-old was an NFL executive before he became commissioner of the Big Ten in 2020. His most recent job in the league was as CEO of the Minnesota Vikings from 2015-2019.

UCLA approved to join Big Ten with 1 interesting catch

Chip Kelly at a press conference

Jul 24, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins coach Chip Kelly during Pac-12 football media day at Hollywood & Highland. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA on Wednesday received approval to join the Big Ten in 2024 as they had hoped. But there is one interesting catch.

UCLA announced over the summer that they would be joining rival USC in moving from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. The decision meant the Los Angeles-based schools would be leaving behind nearly a century of traditions and rivalries for a stronger football conference that promised more national media exposure, and more importantly, money.

But not all of that newfound money will be going to UCLA.

The University of California’s Board of Regents voted 11-5 to approve UCLA’s move to the Big Ten. The catch is that some of the money UCLA will receive from being part of the Big Ten will have to go to Cal as a subsidy.

The UC Regents approved a subsidy in the range of $2-$10 million for Cal, which is another member of the University of California system. The reason for the subsidy is because UCLA’s departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten will adversely affect UC Berkeley financially, which remains a part of the Pac-12.

The Pac-12 is seeking a new media rights deal. Once that deal is struck, the UC Regents will determine how much of a subsidy payment UCLA would make to Cal. UCLA stands to make around double ($60 or so million compared to around $30 million) in annual payments thanks to a media rights deal from being a member of the Big Ten vs. the Pac-12. Had UCLA remained in the Pac-12, the inclusion of the Los Angeles market would have strengthened the conference’s position in negotiations with media companies.

UCLA is still coming out ahead financially as part of the move, but the subsidy payment and additional travel costs will eat into their gains.

Big Ten reportedly has big backup plan if UCLA is blocked from joining

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

If the University of California regents decide to play hardball with the Big Ten, the conference apparently has a big backup plan in mind that would result in some major backfire.

The University of California regents are meeting in December to determine whether the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) should be allowed to move to the Big Ten. UCLA and rival USC plan to move to the Big Ten in 2024. The move will result in a financial windfall for both schools, which is especially needed by UCLA, whose athletic department is reportedly around $100 million in debt.

The UC system is concerned about the amount of money that will be spent on travel, as well as the academic impact to student-athletes, when moving to play in a conference where schools are located across the country rather than closer along the West Coast. They are also concerned about their other flagship school — UC Berkeley — being left behind in the weaker Pac-12.

If the regents were to prevent UCLA from making the move, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd believes that the Big Ten would respond by taking Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12. That would leave UCLA in a conference without USC, Oregon or Washington.

The Pac-12 would be significantly weakened at that point, having just UCLA, Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, Washington State, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and Arizona State.

The regents better not test the Big Ten about whether or not this is a threat; the Big Ten is expanding, and plenty of schools would love to be a part of the conference if UCLA is blocked from going.

Kirk Herbstreit shares feelings on ESPN losing Big Ten football

Kirk Herbstreit smiles

Dec 2, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; ESPN personality Kirk Herbstreit walks down the field prior to the game between the Clemson Tigers and the Miami Hurricanes in the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Herbstreit on Friday shared his feelings about ESPN losing the television rights to the Big Ten.

The Big Ten’s new contract begins in the 2023 football season. For the first time since 1966, ABC or ESPN will not televise their games.

Herbstreit, 53, played quarterback at Ohio State and has a strong family legacy at the school, where his father also played. He and Chris Fowler have formed the No. 1 announcing team for ESPN’s college football games for several years, meaning they have called numerous Big Ten games in primetime.

Speaking with the media on Friday ahead of Saturday’s game between the Buckeyes and Notre Dame on ABC, Herbstreit acknowledged it will be tough not calling Big Ten games.

“I’m sad,” Herbstreit said, via Eleven Warriors. “I love Ohio State, I love the Big Ten, I love coming into these stadiums. It’s a highlight for me any time we can come here, obviously, or go to Penn State or Wisconsin or any of the (Big Ten stadiums).”

ESPN could still air games involving Big Ten teams if they happen to be non-conference ones the network has the rights to, or playoff games. But for the most part, ABC/ESPN will be without the Big Ten through the 2029 season.

Though the development is sad for the ESPN announcer, Herbstreit recognizes the development isn’t permanent.

“Who knows what will happen after that (the new seven-year Big Ten contract)? So I don’t think it’s the end of my opportunities in my career, but for that time period, it will be,” Herbstreit said. “So yeah, I definitely wasn’t celebrating it. But it’s the business like we’re all seeing. Everything’s evolving in this sport. Everything’s changing. I’m trying to keep an open mind to all of it and just do the best I can through it.”

The Big Ten is truly branching out. They are adding Los Angeles schools UCLA and USC. Their broadcast deal also calls for their games to appear on FOX, NBC and CBS.

While ESPN will be able to flex its muscle as the TV home for the SEC, FOX is becoming more of the TV home for the Big Ten, with NBC and CBS also broadcasting games.

Report: 1 Pac-12 school trying hard to join Big Ten

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten is not done trying to raid the Pac-12 for additional members, according to a new report.

Oregon has begun preliminary discussions with the Big Ten to determine whether the school is compatible with the conference, according to Brett McMurphy of Action Network. The discussions are in the very early stages, and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and top Oregon administrators are not yet involved.

There is nothing very surprising about the Big Ten trying to add a school of Oregon’s caliber. The conference just formalized a major new television rights deal, and a report made clear in the wake of the announcement that further expansion was likely. Pac-12 powers USC and UCLA have already agreed to move to the Big Ten.

This report also makes clear that Oregon, another Pac-12 pillar, is giving some serious thought to leaving the conference. They do not have a lot of incentive to stay without USC and UCLA. That would leave them as the biggest program in an increasingly weak league, a scenario that does not offer many benefits for them. Some reports indicate that they have been thinking about a possible move for some time.

Report: Big Ten has major plans after agreeing to new TV deals

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten on Thursday officially confirmed its new media rights deals, which will see three different networks airing Big Ten games starting in 2023. That is a big deal, but the conference is not stopping there.

The Big Ten’s new deal will ultimately be worth more than $1 billion annually, a reflection of the conference’s increased reputation and value with the impending addition of UCLA and USC. However, the deal may also signify bigger things to come.

“We are not done expanding,” a Big Ten source told Pat Forde of SI.

This may seem obvious, but the question has remained how aggressive the conference might be after nabbing USC and UCLA. The signal being sent here is that the Big Ten will push just as hard to expand the conference and add even more value to the new broadcast deals they have just agreed.

Reports indicate that the Big Ten is casting a fairly wide net as it hunts for new additions. Ironically, their new deals may have hurt their chances of luring their dream school into the conference.

ESPN makes major decision with Big Ten rights package

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN has carried Big Ten sports for the last four decades, but that run will soon come to an end.

The Big Ten’s current media rights deal is ending in 2023. The conference has been in discussions with various networks who are trying to acquire their media rights. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported on Tuesday that ESPN has pulled out of the negotiations. The Big Ten was seeking $380 million per year over a seven-year deal from ESPN.

FOX has already reached an agreement to pick up the Big Ten’s “A” package for college football games. CBS and NBC are favored to pick up the remaining games now that ESPN has bowed out of the bidding war.

Assuming CBS and NBC do reach deals with the Big Ten, here is what the schedule would look like for nationally-televised Big Ten college football games on Saturdays:
12:30 pm ET – FOX
3:30 pm ET – CBS
8:00 pm ET – NBC

If NBC lands a Saturday night package for premier Big Ten football games, that would coincide nicely with Notre Dame joining the conference. NBC could also stream some games on Peacock.

ABC has televised Big Ten games since 1966, and ESPN has had their games since 1982. CBS has been aggressive in trying to pursue Big Ten rights because they are losing their SEC package to ESPN beginning in 2024. That is likely a big reason why ESPN did not allow the Big Ten to name its price.

Assuming ESPN loses the Big Ten, that could be good news for the Big 12 and Pac-12. ESPN could potentially reach an agreement with one or both of those sinking conferences.

Report: Big Ten could leave ESPN

Kevin Warren smiling

Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Big 10 commissioner Kevin Warren during the Michigan Wolverines game against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten has had a longtime presence on ESPN, but that could be coming to an end soon.

The Big Ten’s media rights deal is ending after 2022-2023. The conference is currently in negotiations with various networks who are trying to acquire their media rights.

While FOX has already reached an agreement to pick up the Big Ten’s “A” package for college football games, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand says CBS and NBC are favored to pick up the remaining Big Ten football games.

Here is what the schedule would look like for nationally-televised Big Ten college football games on Saturdays:
12:30 pm ET – FOX
3:30 pm ET – CBS
8:00 pm ET – NBC

NBC would also stream some games on Peacock according to the report. FOX and Big Ten Network would televise many other games as they currently do.

Not having ESPN televise Big Ten football games would represent a major change. ABC has televised Big Ten games since 1966, and ESPN has had their games since 1982.

CBS is looking to pick up the Big Ten games because they are losing the SEC package to ESPN in 2024. NBC has interest in adding the Big Ten in primetime so it can have a Saturday Night Football college football package to mirror its Sunday Night Football package of premier NFL games.

NBC landing a Saturday night package for premier Big Ten football games would also coincide nicely with Notre Dame joining the conference.

Additionally, if ESPN loses the Big Ten, that would signal good news for the Big 12 and Pac-12. ESPN would have a need to fill its programming, which could provide a lifeboat for those conferences.

Would Notre Dame bring Pac-12 team in package deal if they join Big Ten?

Marcus Freeman smiling

Dec 6, 2021; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head football coach Marcus Freeman speaks during his formal introduction on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame is reportedly being pursued by the Big Ten as the conference expands. If the independent school chose to join the Big Ten, they reportedly are expected to bring a Pac-12 school with them.

Stanford’s athletic director spoke Friday during the Pac-12’s media event ahead of the college football season. Athletic director Bernard Muir said the school had not received a formal overture from another conference.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel said in a tweet about the subject that if Notre Dame joined the Big Ten, Stanford would go with them.

Stanford and Notre Dame both have strong academic reputations and many good athletic teams. The two schools have also played annually in football since 1997.

Notre Dame’s other traditional Pac-12 opponent is USC, which has already joined the Big Ten. The Fighting Irish would likely want to keep tradition alive by continuing to face many of the same schools.

The Big Ten reportedly is considering six schools if they are to expand. Stanford is on their list. Notre Dame is the school they reportedly want the most.

Ryan Day shares how he learned about USC and UCLA joining Big Ten

Ryan Day coaching

Nov 30, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day was on the golf course when news broke of USC and UCLA joining the Big Ten, and he had a unique story behind learning about the move.

Day appeared on “THE Podcast: Ohio State Football News” on Wednesday during this week’s Big Ten media days. He revealed that he learned of the two schools’ decision while playing at UCLA head coach Chip Kelly’s golf tournament in New Hampshire.

“We were making the turn right around where we were staying,” Day said. “My wife and Chip’s wife came running out and said that we were in the same conference now.

“We started off the round and we’re in two different conferences,” Day said. “We end the round and we’re in the same one.”

Day also said that he and Kelly, who was playing a group ahead of Day, had no idea that the USC-UCLA move was coming.

The two coaches have a relationship that has spanned over two decades. Day was the quarterback at New Hampshire during Kelly’s first season as an offensive coordinator at the school in 1999. Both Day and Kelly coached their programs to solid records in 2021. UCLA finished with an 8-4 record, while Ohio State went 11-2 and won the Rose Bowl.

USC and UCLA will not be headed to the Big Ten until 2024, meaning Day’s focus will presumably be on this season and a tough opening game against Oregon.