The Big Ten Conference has found a successor for Jim Delany, who announced his retirement in March. Delany is set to leave his post in June 2020. Kevin Warren, the chief operating officer of the Minnesota Vikings will be the next Big Ten commissioner. The Big Ten will have an announcement on BTN at 11 am this morning.
This is not a small surprise. The expected successor was Northwestern Athletic Director Jim Phillips. He knows the Big Ten. He’s built a decent athletic department at Northwestern amongst all the nerds. Everyone knows him.
Warren is not a Big Ten guy. He went to Penn, and has degrees from Grand Canyon (wut?), Arizona State and Notre Dame. He’s a lawyer who’s been in the NFL, and spent since 2015 at his current position with the Vikings, a failure of a franchise if there’s ever been one (I never miss a chance to take a shot at Vikes fans! WOoooooooo!).
Warren will be the first black commissioner of a major college conference.
Jim Delany’s success at the helm of the conference has been exceptional. Everyone laughed when he started the Big Ten Network (BTN), which looked like a complete failure at first. Then deals were made. Fox bought in, bringing DirecTV along with them. Divine intervention played a part as the first football game ever shown on BTN was #5 Michigan’s stunning 34-32 loss to Appalachian State. Years later, BTN carries cash to the bank in very large bags. The Big Ten brought in $759M in revenue in 2018.
Delany brought Nebraska into the conference, along with Maryland and Rutgers. (Ah, rutger.) You can complain about missing old Big Eight foes, but would you really rather be back in the crapfest that is the Big 12? (Our old, outdated, Texas-controlled conference brought in only $374M in 2018. HAHAHHAHAAA. Losers.)
And while it may not mean much to Nebraskans, Delany maintained the Big Ten’s relationship with the Rose Bowl while finally agreeing to create a four-team College Football Playoff.
One of my favorite things about Jim Delany? His name. So incredibly easy, yet so unbelievably hard to spell for everyone but himself. There are so many frequent “Jim Delaney” sightings I’ll be sad to see him go if for no other reason than feeling superior because I’ve always known how to spell his name.
It’s still an odd choice. Not a college guy? Maybe Warren is a short term solution. Maybe he’s been selected because he’ll never be as good as Delany. Who knows why people in lofty heights make such decisions.
Kevin Warren, he of the easy name to spell will have his work cut out for him.