Big Ten Basketball Media Days are taking place in Minneapolis on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren opened up the proceedings by further discussing the conference’s addition of UCLA and USC.
Asked about further expansion for the conference, Warren said the biggest thing for the Big Ten right now is the conferences “can’t miss priorities” in regards to adding UCLA and USC.
“One of them is to make sure we flawlessly integrate our new media partners, but the other one is to make sure we flawlessly integrate USC and UCLA into the Big Ten Conference,” he said. “In the climate we’re in right now in college athletics, you also have to be mindful of expansion. But our priority is just to make sure that we take care of our 14 member institutions now from a basketball standpoint, from a conference standpoint, and that we do everything that we possibly can to make sure we flawlessly integrate UCLA and USC.”
The is the first time that Big Ten Basketball Media Days have taken place in Minneapolis, and the conference will return to the city for the upcoming Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament and the following season for the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Warren said the conference might also consider hosting these events in Los Angeles moving forward with the Big Ten’s expansion into the West Coast.
“Regarding the basketball tournaments, quite naturally we have to look at how that works. We have individuals in our organization now who are working with those potential tournaments will look like,” he said. “I know one thing, they’ll be exciting. Now we have the flexibility to have them really anywhere across the country. So having two great basketball programs, the history and tradition.”
Warren also briefly touched on divisions in football, and said the conference is still looking at ways to handle it with UCLA and USC set to join the Big Ten.
“We’re having meetings on that right now,” he said. “The good thing about it we’re in this what we’re calling an integration phase. We have members of our organization – Kerry Kenny is leading one group, Diana Sabau, Chad Hawley, Anil Gollahalli – are working on integration. We’re being very thoughtful.”