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Big Ten league commissioner Kevin Warren thinks league has 20 members, paying players

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Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren is poised for more big moves after the Big Ten signed a historic media rights deal.

on HBO and Bryant Gumbel
of Real Sports (h​​/t Brett McMurphy of The Action Network), Warren said the Big Ten envisions the league eventually having 20 members and paying player.

“Those (paying players) are something we have to address,” Warren said. “We have to do it. So I want to be part of this conversation and will be part of the conversation about what we can do to improve this.”

The Big Ten announces a seven-year distribution deal with CBS, Fox, NBC and NBCUniversal’s Peacock and returning partners Big Ten Network and FS1, beginning July 1, 2023, Until 2029-30

McMurphy reports the deal is worth $7-8 billion, but if using For escalators, that number could rise to nearly $10 billion. Meeting members increased.

Beginning in 2024 when USC and UCLA officially join the conference, the Big Ten will have 16 teams.

After landing at USC and UCLA, the Big Ten is looking to add more teams, which is already a open secret. With its new media rights contract providing a huge incentive for expansion, it seems like a safe bet that Warren might aggressively introduce new shows.

Given the uncertain future of the Pac-12, the schools currently participating in the conference may take action. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported in July that the Big Ten was “evaluating whether it was worthwhile” to join California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. There has been some discussion that UCLA’s entry into the Big Ten could be in jeopardy. Pac-12 reporter Jon Werner points out that the school recently held a meeting with the UC Board of Regents about travel and academics The meeting did reduce the certainty of the Bruins leaving the current conference.

Wilner does describe the probability of no movement as being “very low”, but “not 0%” at this point. He did add that if UCLA decides not to leave the Pac-12, the Big Ten might just switch to Stanford, a private school like USC.

Following news of the Big Ten’s future financial windfall, The Ringer’s Roger Sherman noted that the conference Could pay 110 football players, 15 men’s and women’s basketball players $200,000 a year at all 16 schools, but still make $600 million before factoring in revenue from ticket sales, NCAA spending, merchandise sales, and more.

Under current NCAA rules, athletes can make money by name, image and likeness. FBS schools are allowed to offer academic bonuses to student-athletes for performance in the classroom, but ESPN’s Dan Murphy noted in April that only 22 of 130 programs have plans to do so.

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