Kevin Warren Speaks on Big Ten Network
Commissioner Kevin Warren joined the Big Ten Network Wednesday morning shortly after the league's announcement to reinstate fall sports. See a few of his initial comments below. (this story will be updated throughout the morning)
“First and foremost, this is a special day for the Big Ten Conference,” Warren said to open. “It’s all about our student-athletes, their families, our coaches, administration, surrounding communities and fans. The only focus and goal that we’ve had is to safely allow our student-athletes to return to competition and fulfill their dreams. Our chancellors and presidents have been laser focused on making sure we created an environment to do that.”
Warren also explained how various subcommittees helped the league reach this point. The medical task force was led by Dr. James Borchers (Ohio State), the scheduling task force was guided by Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and the television task force was spearheaded by Jim Phillips (Northwestern).
“Shortly after the postponement in August, our conference office really went to work establishing a return-to-competition task force,” Warren said. “The goal was to create an environment to work in a collaborative and transparent manner, to make sure we handle all questions and issues.”
Warren didn't seem eager to look in the past and reflect, but instead reiterated his ambition to proceed forward.
“It’s important to realize this is a fluid situation, where we need to adapt given the world we live in today,” Warren said. “Based upon the standards set by our chancellors and presidents from day one, we needed to be flexible and reach a comfortable point to move forward. One aspect of leadership is the process of gathering and analyzing information. That’s part of the journey we had to go through internally. This is a happy day for the Big Ten to focus on going forward. We have met standards that we are very comfortable with. We will focus on the future and stay together.”
On what the last month-plus has been like and receiving criticism:
“Shortly after we released the revised schedule, our medical team raised serious concerns for student-athletes regarding testing, cardiac issues and so on,” Warren said. “You heard many people talk about that and it’s just now a blessing to be here today. Proud to be with this group of individuals. These roles are complicated and there are a lot of constituents to work with. I understand what it takes to be a leader, and it’s not for everyone. This is a collaborative effort. It’s been a complicated and interesting year, but I sit and ask if we are better today than 43 days ago. The answer is unequivocally yes.”
On his call with President Trump:
"It was productive and interesting… we had a respectful conversation and I'm excited to be sitting here today looking forward to kicking off football.”