It sounds like the door is definitely open for the Big Ten to keep adding teams.
USC and UCLA will officially join the B1G in 2024, and there’s been serious speculation the powerhouse conference could target several more teams.
Without giving away major hints about what the B1G might be planning, commissioner Kevin Warren made it clear in an interview with The Athletic that the conference will remain flexible.
“I’m always mindful of what’s going on at different conferences and the different markets and what’s happening. But right now, we’ve got to make sure we take care of our business. I don’t think I’ve pushed pause on anything. Ever. I’m a big believer in taking care of what you have, taking care of these new opportunities. USC, UCLA and our new partners and CBS with basketball and football and NBC. And then making sure that you’re prepared when things happen,” Warren explained when talking about where the Big Ten goes from here. The key part of that comment is clearly the fact he hasn’t hit pause “on anything.”
While it’s unclear what the future holds for the conference, the Big Ten is absolutely focused on doing whatever “makes sense” for the programs already there and UCLA and USC.
“We’re analyzing what makes sense. We’ve got to be smart. Also, are there opportunities for future potential corporate partners to help us kind of shoulder some of that responsibility from a financial standpoint? The good thing about it is once you make a determination to lead and make these decisions where you’re prepared, it puts you in a position where you can be creative and do certain things,” the Big Ten commissioner further added.
How likely is it that the Big Ten expands?
As we’ve covered extensively at OutKick, there is an arms race unfolding in the world of college sports. The SEC is adding Texas and Oklahoma, and the Big Ten is adding UCLA and USC.
Right now, the B1G and SEC control the world of college sports, especially college football. All the other conferences are just hoping to survive.
If the SEC or B1G starts adding more teams, you can bet the house the other one will do the same. This is like building up missile stockpiles during the Cold War.
When the Soviets started pumping out new weapons, the USA did the exact same. If you wait, you’re dead. The same logic applies here.
If the SEC loads up and the Big Ten remains stagnant, you can kiss the conference’s power goodbye.
What options might be on the table?
So, what might the Big Ten do if further expansion is the choice the conference makes? Oregon, Washington, Cal and Stanford are rumored to be the next four up. It makes a ton of sense given the geographic location of those schools compared to USC and UCLA.
Notre Dame also remains a sexy pick. However, the Fighting Irish show little immediate interest in joining a conference. I’d also be curious to see if UNC gets a phone call from the Big Ten.
All options must be on the table for Kevin Warren and other leaders in the conference.
We’re living in unprecedented times in the world of college sports, and it should be a ton of fun to see where we go from here.