The Big Ten Conference on Monday morning announced it has hired Ohio State senior deputy athletic director Diana Sabau as its new deputy commissioner and chief sports officer.
“I am thrilled to hire a deputy commissioner and chief sports officer who has over 27 years of collegiate athletics experience, knowledge and relationships,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “Diana is a proven leader with integrity and creativity. Her reputation as a hard-worker, collaborator and trusted counsel are critical elements to serving our members and growing the conference.”
Beginning on May 1, Sabau will oversee the all 28 of the conference’s sponsored sports, including affiliate membership, competition, scheduling, championships, sportsmanship and awards, as well as the sport administrators for football, basketball, hockey and officiating. Her role was created this year, making her the first chief sports officer in the conference’s 125-year history.
Sabau has been with the Ohio State football program since 2017, with her roles included budgeting, scheduling, negotiating contracts and compliance. She was critical in securing Ohio State’s 2027 and 2028 home-and-home series with Alabama, as well as similar non-conference matchups with Notre Dame (2022-23), Washington (2024-25), Texas (2025-26) and Georgia (2030-31).
Additionally, Sabau was credited for enhancing the athletic department’s partnerships with Coca-Cola, ESPN’s College GameDay, Gatorade and Nike, among others. She was widely viewed as a future athletic director, with her name even being linked to the recently vacated Kansas job.
“During Diana’s tenure at The Ohio State University she evolved into an excellent administrator with unique talents and skills that cannot be replace,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “She enjoyed a diversity of experiences that afforded her the ability to be exceptional in so many areas. Her service at OSU was more than as a steward. Her passion and commitment to excellence were stellar.”
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