Big Ten Hires Ohio State's Diana Sabau As Deputy Commissioner and Chief Sports Officer

By Colin Hass-Hill on March 15, 2021 at 9:28 am
Diana Sabau and Ryan Day

Diana Sabau is moving on.

The Big Ten hired Ohio State's senior deputy athletic director to be its new deputy commissioner and chief sports officer. After working closely with athletic director Gene Smith for years in Columbus, her Rosemont, Illinois-based job beginning on May 1 will have her side by side with commissioner Kevin Warren.

“I am thrilled to hire a deputy commissioner and chief sports officer who has over 27 years of collegiate athletics experience, knowledge and relationships,” Warren said in a statement. “Diana is a proven leader with integrity and creativity. Her reputation as a hard-worker, collaborator, and trusted counsel are critical elements to serving our members and growing the conference.”

Sabau, while not a household name to most fans, played a significant role in several Ohio State teams, including football. Since April 2017 – well before the Ryan Day era began – she has been the sports administrator for the football program. She played a part in budgeting, scheduling, negotiating contracts and compliance. Notably, her relationship with Alabama senior deputy athletic director Finus Gaston helped the Buckeyes set up a home-and-home series with the Crimson Tide for the 2027 and 2028 seasons.

Additionally, Sabau served as the athletic department's television liaison who helped bring ESPN's College GameDay to campus, and she brokered what the Big Ten called an "unprecedented, multi-million-dollar partnership agreement with NIKE and the university."

Sabau also was the sports administrator for the women's hockey, rifle and pistol programs.

“During Diana’s tenure at The Ohio State University she evolved into an excellent administrator with unique talents and skills that cannot be replaced. She enjoyed a diversity of experiences that afforded her the ability to be exceptional in so many areas,” Smith said in a statement.. “Her service at OSU was more than as a steward; her passion and commitment to excellence were stellar.”

Sabau was widely viewed as a future athletic director, but instead her next step will be to join the Big Ten.

View 43 Comments