Earlier this week you may have noticed the stories of the Big Ten, in which the conference’s previous commissioner, Kevin Warren, failed to fully complete a series of lucrative television contracts. ESPN’s Pete Thamel’s report documented the unfinished aspects of the contracts, which will result in the Big Ten having to pay Fox back and renegotiate with NBC. While the Big Ten’s athletic departments are poised to take tens of millions of dollars out of the deal once everything is finalized, they are running into the short-term frustration of seeing money being squandered, resulting in a budget projection shortfall compared to what was initially promised .
That is bad.
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Adding to the frustration of the Big Ten athletic departments is that Kevin Warren has not made the situation abundantly clear. as Thamel reported:
“Athletic departments and coaches around the Big Ten say they were surprised that November night games would be part of the deal. According to sources, they were not asked for permission to play them or notified of the pre-deal change prior to the deal. At the same time, NBC didn’t know until long after signing the first contract this summer that these major brand schools had historic tolerances that were part of the earlier television arrangements and would not be available.
“‘NBC was surprised, and I was surprised,’ said Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel. ‘We hadn’t discussed, and I hadn’t talked to anyone in the league about changing the tolerances we agreed on years ago.” ”
Tony Petitti, the new Big Ten commissioner, is trying to land these TV contracts after Kevin Warren rushed to join the Chicago Bears instead of sticking around to lead USC to the Big Ten. It’s quite a turn of events.