INDIANAPOLIS (WOOD) — Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren addressed the media Tuesday for the first time since the conference announced an expansion that will include the University of California-Los Angeles and the University of Southern California in 2024.
The move will transform the Big Ten, which includes Michigan and Michigan State, into a bicoastal mega conference with 16 teams spanning four time zones.
Warren said it could just be the beginning, but any future expansion would be for the right reasons.
“We will not expand just to expand,” Warren said at Big Ten media days in Indianapolis. “It will be strategic, it will add additional value to our conference and it will provide a platform to even have our student-athletes be put on a larger platform so they can build their careers, but also that they have an opportunity to grow and learn from an education and from an athletic standpoint.”
He added the Big Ten will now have a presence in all three major media markets: New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. UCLA and USC will be full members when they join the conference, getting full shares of the conference revenues.
“We think that’s important for various reasons,” Warren said. “They bring a lot of value to our relationship, they bring a lot of panache to our relationship and we look forward to welcoming them into the Big Ten family here in 2024. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then.”
Part of that work includes a new media rights deal that’s expected to be announced “sooner rather than later.” Warren said multiple media partners could drive his other goal of expanding the College Football Playoff beyond the current four-team format.
“I’m 100% supportive for College Football Playoff expansion. What is that right number. We’ll figure it out,” Warren said. “I’m confident we’ll get College Football Playoff expansion resolved and I still feel strongly that we need to open it up to have multiple media partners.”