Kevin Warren: Big Ten Could Expand Beyond USC, UCLA If Schools Add 'Additional Value'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 26, 2022

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The Big Ten added USC and UCLA for a 2024 expansion in a shocking move this year, but the conference may not be done.

Commissioner Kevin Warren told reporters Tuesday at Big Ten football media days:

"I get asked every single day, what's next? 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. We will not expand just to expand. It will be strategic, it will add additional value to our conference."

The addition of the two California schools has been controversial. California Gov. Gavin Newsom publicly demanded an explanation from UCLA as to how its move will positively impact its student body.

He said last week:

"The first duty of every public university is to the people—especially students. UCLA must clearly explain to the public how this deal will improve the experience for all its student-athletes, will honor its century-old partnership with UC Berkeley, and will preserve the histories, rivalries, and traditions that enrich our communities."

UCLA did not publicly respond to the comments.

Expansion has continued to gear college football toward a handful of powerful conferences, however. The SEC made a huge move last summer, securing the future additions of football powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas.

Once UCLA and USC are added in 2024, the Big Ten will have 16 schools. Alongside the two California institutions, the league will also have Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Rutgers.

The expansion will give the league a major presence in huge media markets across the United States such as New York City (presumably through Rutgers, which is in New Jersey), Los Angeles and Chicago.

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


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