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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Bears Make Big Ten Commish New President and CEO

  • Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has accepted a position as president and CEO of the Chicago Bears, a source confirmed to Front Office Sports.
  • Warren leaves the Big Ten after just three seasons — during which he arguably precipitated several of the biggest shifts in college sports.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren has accepted a position as president and CEO of the Chicago Bears, a source confirmed to Front Office Sports, following NFL Network’s report.

Warren will begin official business for the team this spring.

He will be the first Black American to hold such a position at the team.

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This isn’t Warren’s first foray into the NFL. Before the Big Ten, he served as the COO of the Minnesota Vikings and also held positions with the St. Louis Rams and Detroit Lions. 

Warren leaves the Big Ten after just three seasons — during which he arguably precipitated several of the biggest shifts in college sports

  • He secured the largest conference media rights deal in history, a mid-$7 billion package between CBS, Fox, and NBC.
  • USC and UCLA, two of college sports’ biggest brands, joined the Big Ten on his watch.
  • Warren modernized the conference through in-house sponsorships and the first Big Ten women’s volleyball media days.
  • He was one of the few commissioners who didn’t completely discount the idea of sharing media rights revenues with athletes, though he made no promises.

When he arrived at the conference, one of his first acts was to cancel and then reinstate the Big Ten football season during the height of the pandemic — a decision which drew widespread criticism. 

Now he’ll exit the conference as perhaps one of the most successful commissioners in recent memory.

Big Shoes to Fill

Going forward, the Big Ten will need another forward-looking leader — perhaps a business executive like the Big 12’s Brett Yormark — to take the helm of one of two college sports “Super Conferences.” 

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