Good morning! In case you missed it yesterday afternoon, I dropped a podcast on the history and aftermath of the Black 14 protests. It’s not going anywhere, so if you’re interested at all in politics, religion, or college football in the intermountain west, you may enjoy it.
But we’ve got plenty to talk about now. The big story?
The Big Ten has selected their next commissioner
Current Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney is retiring, and the league announced a press conference for Tuesday at 11 CST to announce his replacement. It’ll be on BTN and everything.
When I got the email, I assumed, along with lots of other local media types here, that the league would hire Northwestern AD Jim Phillips. Nobody knows the ins and outs of the conference better, he’s respected by his peers, he built a solid athletic department at a place where that’s very hard to do, and given the relative brevity of the search, selecting a more well-known candidate made sense. Hell, he wouldn’t even have to move!
But now multiple reports indicate that the league is actually hiring Kevin Warren, the current COO for the Minnesota Vikings.
This is a major surprise. If you asked me to write out 25 possible candidates, I’m not sure Warren would have made the list. He’s not a Big Ten guy (he attended Penn and has degrees from Grand Canyon, Arizona State and Notre Dame). He’s not a lifelong college athletics administrator. He’s a bigshot lawyer who has spent the last two decades or so in the NFL. That’s almost as outsidery as you can get.
He would also be, I believe, the first African-American P5 conference commissioner. Given the enormous weight the Big Ten holds even among P5 leagues, that’s not nothing. Keith Gill, who was recently named the Sun Belt commissioner, was the first African-American to become an FBS conference commissioner.
I don’t want to opine too much on what this means and whatnot until after tomorrow. I plan to attend the press conference and do a little digging. I’ll just say that on paper, this seems pretty surprising. Warren has a lot of experience on the business side of running an NFL team, but how much of that experience is directly applicable to running a power college athletics conference? I’m not sure.
If there are things you’d like me to ask or would like to know, I’d love to hear from you!
Some bowl games have different league affiliations now
If you’re the kind of person who cares about the historic tradition of uh, the Belk Bowl, I have some bad news for you.
Stadium has the breakdown of some conference affiliation changes with several bowl games. You can check out the whole list if you’re interested, but a few things jumped out to me:
- The Las Vegas bowl looks to become a much more prestigious and important contest as it moves to the fancy new NFL stadium in town. It’ll feature a Pac-12 and either an SEC/Big Ten opponent, and I imagine those matchups won’t be featuring a 6-6 Cal against 6-6 Minnesota. That’s probably a win for fans, seeing as Vegas is a pretty cheap flight in December, and good for the Pac-12, who will want to develop even closer ties to the city as an event destination. The old Las Vegas Bowl, featuring the MWC and Pac-12, will be the new Los Angeles Bowl.
- Speaking of the MWC, that LA bowl may very well end up being their only bowl shot at a P5 school. Their other games, like the Hawaii Bowl, the Idaho Potato Bowl, New Mexico Bowl and Arizona Bowl, will be against G5 competition. While the American could potentially get a half-dozen shots at P5 teams. The top teams in the MWC, especially now, are better than lots of mediocre ACC or Big Ten teams, and it kinda sucks that they (or teams from the Sun Belt, MAC, etc) will rarely get postseason opportunities to prove it.
- lmao the Pac-12 now has a tie-in with the Independence Bowl, meaning we get to send Stanford or Cal fans to Shreveport. This is a delight.
FloSports just got a bunch more money
You may remember FloSports as the streaming platform that will be the primary rightsholder for the CAA. They also stream some MLS games (to uh, mixed reviews) and a slew of tiny niche sports you’ve probably never heard of.
They’d like to become a bigger player in the world of sports, and now they have a bunch more money to try and do it. Specifically, $47 million more monies.
FloSports has been linked to potentially other MLS deals, and maybe they’ll use this money to try and more aggressively pursue other college options. There aren’t a ton of rights hitting the market in the near future though, unless FloSports decides to overpay for another mid or low-major, like the CAA.
There’s plenty more demand for online streaming of sporting events, but there’s also plenty of competition.
If you’re a CAA fan, you can take some measure of comfort in knowing that FloSports, at the very least, isn’t likely to vanish in the next few years.
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