Clay Travis, the founder of Outkick, played a major role in setting up the phone call between Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and President Donald Trump, which centered on the Big Ten’s return to play for football season in the Fall.
John Ourand and Michael Smith reported on the story in the Sports Business Journal. Clay Travis had relationships with White House aide Timothy Pataki as well as Carrie Cecil, a communications specialist whom Kevin Warren and the Big Ten hired to help with messaging.
“It was last week that Joe Biden started running commercials in Big Ten markets that blamed Trump’s federal response to the pandemic as the main reason why the conference was not playing,” said the SBJ story. “That prompted frustrated White House aides to start talking about how Trump could play a role in getting the Big Ten’s teams back on the field to salvage a season and mute Biden’s attack. Travis, a vocal critic of the Big Ten’s decision, was part of those meetings.”
“Cecil, working as a consultant for the Big Ten, spoke to Travis to see if he might soften his criticism of Warren, a first-year commissioner with a lengthy NFL background, but no college experience,” the story continued. “Through those conversations, it became apparent that Travis was in contact with the White House and had taken part in meetings to figure out how to convince the Big Ten to play football this fall. The White House’s first contact with Warren came Monday at 5:12 pm from Pataki. The commissioner huddled with Cecil to evaluate the pros and cons, knowing that Trump would be seeking political gain from the exposure. Within an hour and 23 minutes, Warren responded and told Pataki that he’d speak with the president. By Monday night, they were all set for Trump to call Warren at 8:30 pm today. The call lasted roughly 20 minutes.”
If the Big Ten does return to play this Fall, Outkick will have played a role.