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Big Ten rates Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington from Pac-12 as further expansion is being considered

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Indianapolis-As the conference expanded, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren recently left us with a breadcrumb trail. Warren’s further expansion tips could result in another bomb rocking the Pac-12.

Big Ten is valuing the value of adding Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington from Pac-12 to extend the conference to at least 20 teams, sources told CBS Sports this week.

Warren has not confirmed expansion activities with these particular schools, but will add teams other than USC and UCLA (joining in 2024) after the current media rights agreement was signed in August. Told CBS Sports.

“We are not’targeting’,” Warren said when CBS Sports directly inquired about these four program candidates. “As I said, my focus is on caring for our 14 institutions.”

But it’s no exaggeration to say that the statement made during Warren’s State of the Union address on Big Ten Media Day this week sent ripples of concern to college athletics that another bomb could fall. .. The Action Network first reported Big Ten’s interest in these programs.

The idea of ​​adding Cal, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington is to establish an academically attractive Western partition enough for the President of Big Ten to approve further expansion. However, it is uncertain whether any of Big Ten’s future rights holders will find value in such a move.

Financially, these four programs are not worth close to the amount currently expected to be distributed to Big Ten schools where USC and UCLA are collapsing ($ 80 million to $ 100 million annually). But competitively, it will be the lifeline of Pac-12’s next-best football brand.

Oregon has entered the championship, Washington has won two titles, and Stanford is considered the next best Pac-12 football outlook due to the excellence established under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw. .. Stanford and Cal are also known for their widespread success in the athletic sector. CBS Sports previously reported Oregon despairAnd Cal, abandoned by UCLA, even elicited the wrath of California Governor Gavin Newsom.

The 20-team Big Ten will undoubtedly be the largest collection of football brands in major college sports history. It will also give a pause to college companies that are trying to understand their future lately.

Warren used the word “bold” eight times on Tuesday. “Aggressive” was used three times in his speech. Unlike last week’s SEC Commissioner Greg SankeyWarren cast a veiled warning: Big Ten may not be done.

“From an expansion perspective, the answer is … we’re not on the market, but we’re always looking for something that makes sense,” Warren told CBS Sports.

“Every day I’m asked,’What’s next?'” Warren said in a Big Ten speech. “This may include future expansion, but it will be done at the right time for the right reason, and student athletes, academic and athletic empowerment will be central to all decisions made regarding further expansion. . “

According to industry sources, CBS Sports says Cal, Oregon, Stanford and Washington will not bring the value they need as the 16 teams that will make up the league in 2024, including USC and UCLA. As a result, the revenue of the four programs can be significantly lower than that of existing members just to ensure long-term security in the Big Ten.

According to industry sources, the revenue cuts that Cal, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington have taken in joining the Big Ten need to be “significant” compared to other conference members. It will be a headache for rights holders trying to restructure existing transactions.

However, the revenue that these four teams can receive could be much higher than the combined sum of the remaining 10 Pac-12 schools. The number is estimated to be between $ 21 million and $ 30 million annually for each school.

Still, rights holders who have landed some of the lucrative Big Ten deals (still under negotiation) will be forced to spend additional money on their schools. Big Ten contracts are already projected to exceed $ 1 billion annually.

Including these four programs causes “dilution”. This is an industry term for reducing the proportion of attractive games by adding substandard inventory.

This move could also disrupt the Pac-12, which is desperately trying to be with 10 existing members. Then the problem is: Will the further expansion of Big Ten force the SEC to respond? His meeting has stood expanded so far after Sanky showed it last week.

“Greg and I believe there is an increasing responsibility to make sure we are cautious in our steps,” Warren told CBS Sports. “I always ask myself,’Does this decision make sense in 50 years?’

Basically it is responsible for confusing the top end of college athletics. With these four schools, Big Ten would include more than 30% of the current 65 Power Five teams.

And if it decides to abandon its independence, it does not include the possible additions of Notre Dame. With Stanford joining the Big Ten, the league becomes even more attractive to Fighting Irish. Source of information previously told CBS Sports..

“I am embracing change,” Warren said. “I will be very aggressive. I have continued my entire career that way.”

College athletics sources contacted CBS Sports related to the tenor in Warren’s speech on Wednesday. They believe that even if Warren intended to be aggressive in further expansion, keeping it himself instead of sending ripples of concern through college athletics could have been a healthier move. Was there.

“It’s not just about expanding,” Warrens said. “It is strategic and will add value to our conference.”

Asked about his requirements in pursuing new members, Warren lowered his checklist.

“Goodness of fit. That’s a more holistic view,” Warren told CBS Sports. “Under that, it’s academic stability. Two is athletic ability. Three is the foundation of graduates. Four is the foundation of fans. Five is the progressive nature of leadership. That’s USC and That’s why we made UCLA special. “

Cal, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington are all members of the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), a group of prestigious research institutes. Nebraska is not the only member of the current Big Ten.

Due to the money problems and cataclysms caused by more expansion, one prominent observer asked: Will it be less competitive?

Big Ten may be trying to answer questions about athletics. What moral obligations does the league have in reorganizing the top end of college athletics? Academically, the four schools fit into the Big Ten, but how much does the rest of the Power Five cost?

“We’re dealing with it today because the college track and field business has grown faster than the structure and governance of college track and field,” Warren said.

Such a move would strip half of its members, the Pac-12. Sources say the Pac-12 is most likely to need to be reformed because it is floating in invitations to San Diego, Fresno, and so on. One of the labels attached to that group was “Mountain West Plus”.

Pac-12 can be at risk in two ways. According to sources, the Big 12 has at least zero westward expansion with Arizona. CBS Sports previously reported that ASU, Colorado and Utah were targets for the Big 12, but it’s unclear if Arizona will follow. San Diego State University is active on both Pac-12 and Big 12.

Further expansion will be the latest in a series of difficult moves Warren has taken since taking office on January 1, 2020.

Two months after work, Warren upset his peers by canceling the season due to concerns about COVID-19. He later became tolerant, but the delay in the start of the season cost most of the Ohio State University football playoffs spot. The Birth of The Birth did not play as many games as needed to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game of the year. That year, the player’s parents protested in front of the Big Ten office for the start of the season.

Sportico reported on Tuesday that Big Ten’s athletic director had considered passing a distrust resolution to Warren in 2020.

“He inherited a nightmare,” said Barry Alvarez, a former coach and athletic director in Wisconsin and now a senior football adviser to Big Ten. “You come in the middle of a pandemic. There is no book.’How do you handle this?’ All meetings are held at Zoom. Kevin’s first face-to-face meeting was with his coach and AD last May. I think it was a meeting with him. I think he grew up with the league. “