Chicago Bears name B1G commish Kevin Warren as team president

The move says more about the state of college athletics than the allure of the NFL

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Kevin Warren
Kevin Warren
Photo: Getty Images

Soon-to-be former Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is expected to take over as CEO and president of the Chicago Bears, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The move comes amid a rebuild with the team finishing the year 3-14, and landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. This is a vital stretch for the Bears as they have plenty of decisions to make that will dictate how well and how fast Chicago returns to relevance.

Warren, who has worked previously with two other NFC North teams (Vikings and Lions), will no doubt assist GM Ryan Poles on what to do with the pick. There are a number of QBs available who will draw attention from teams in the market for one, and with the luxury of Justin Fields on a rookie contract, Chicago has plenty of options to trade down and surround him with the talent that was clearly missing this season.

What does this mean for the Big Ten?

Warren took over the conference in 2019 and will be gone before his biggest move is finalized. The next B1G commissioner will now oversee the additions of USC and UCLA into a league set to span from L.A. to New Brunswick, N.J., and all the headaches that come with figuring out the minutiae of travel for every sport from football to track and field.

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From a macro viewpoint, it’s a blow for college athletics because the knee-jerk reaction is that Warren took a demotion. Commissioner of one of the biggest conferences in the NCAA to president of a sole NFL franchise isn’t a move I can remember seeing before.

We’ve been told about the upheaval facing college athletics for a while, and I’m fascinated to hear Warren address his reasons for the move. The Big 12 and Pac-12 just got new overlords, and now so will the Big Ten with the expansion wars ongoing and the issue of paying players always looming.