A certain popular sitcom character would describe the Big Ten’s current financial situation as “fluuuushhh with caaashh.”
The conference agreed to television rights deals with FOX, CBS and NBC recently that are set to be worth north of $7 billion over a seven year span. Escalators attached to those deals could see that number rise to more than $10 billion. All while ending prior to the SEC’s long-term deal with ESPN.
The new deals have some of the conference’s biggest stars, namely Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, wondering if it may be time for the Big Ten to start paying its players.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren appears to agree.
Big Ten’s Kevin Warren tells @RealSportsHBO he sees Big Ten having 20 members & paying players. “Those (paying players) are things we have to resolve. We have to. So I want to be part of this conversation & will be part of this conversation of what we can do to make this better”
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 19, 2022
Warren sat down with Bryant Gumbel for his HBO show Real Sports and reportedly broached the topic of pay for play as well as further conference expansion. The Big Ten shook the college football landscape earlier this summer when it added USC and UCLA to the fold. Though that plan may have to be put on hold.
Now Warren looks set to dive head first into continued expansion as well as a bold plan to offer players pay.
“Those (paying players) are things we have to resolve. We have to. So I want to be part of this conversation & will be part of this conversation of what we can do to make this better,” Warren reportedly told Gumbel when asked about the topics.
The full interview will air at 11 p.m. Tuesday on HBO.
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud has some questions about the Big Ten's new TV deal. https://t.co/KpzBYXlfSN
— Highly Clutch (@HighlyClutch) August 19, 2022
Warren’s comments are the first from a Power Five commissioner suggesting a pay-for-play model and could be a huge boost to the conference’s recruiting efforts going forward.