Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren Leaving Conference to Become President of Chicago Bears

By Dan Hope on January 12, 2023 at 10:25 am
Kevin Warren

Kevin Warren is leaving the Big Ten after just three years.

The Big Ten commissioner was announced as the new president and CEO of the Chicago Bears Thursday.

It’s a return to the NFL for Warren, who was previously the chief operating officer of the Minnesota Vikings before he succeeded Jim Delany as Big Ten commissioner in 2020.

Warren rapidly became a polarizing figure in his first year as commissioner when the Big Ten initially canceled its 2020 football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Big Ten eventually played a shortened season beginning in October, he drew the ire of many within the conference for a lack of clear communication during that year.

Warren’s reputation got a boost last year when he spearheaded the move to bring USC and UCLA into the Big Ten, leading to a record-breaking new television deal for the conference worth more than $8 billion over seven years. Now, however, a new commissioner will be overseeing UCLA and USC’s entry into the conference as Warren will turn his attention to the future of the Chicago Bears, who had the worst record in the NFL for the 2022-23 season and are currently weighing the possibility of moving to a new stadium.

The Big Ten issued a statement to acknowledge the move Thursday and expressed gratitude for Warren's work with the conference. The statement said the Council of Presidents and Chancellors will "work with Commissioner Warren during this transition phase and begin a national search for the seventh Big Ten Conference Commissioner."

"Commissioner Warren was pivotal in the expansion from 14-to-16 academic and athletic member institutions and leading the media rights negotiations for the conference," the statement reads in part. "He has been dedicated to building inclusion and equity in the conference while championing mental health and wellness. We thank him for his service and wish him the very best in his new endeavor as the president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Bears."

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