It’s only been a few months since Kevin Warren was introduced as Jim Delany’s replacement as B1G commissioner. He doesn’t take over the position in a full-time role until January.
But the recently-named B1G commissioner is already being talked about for other jobs. Primarily, Warren has been mentioned as a strong candidate to someday replace current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Warren has been involved with the NFL dating back to 1997. His most recent involvement was as the Chief Operation Officer (COO) with the Minnesota Vikings, a position he held from 2005-19. While it’s a big deal that he’s taking on a role as a conference commissioner, some believe it’ll be a steppingstone to future endeavors.
Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic says that several people in the NFL expect Warren to be back in the league in a more high-profile position sometime.
Those with close ties to the NFL view him as a future commissioner and expect the B1G to be only a steppingstone, not a final stop. The incumbent NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, has had the post since 2006, and his current deal runs through March 2024. While Goodell has not said this is his last contract, most assume that’s the case (a spokesman, Joe Lockhart, said so in December 2017, though Goodell has repeatedly rejected that he has made any decision on that score).
Warren, 55, is “one of those handful of people that are in the NFL right now that could ver well be considered as a future commissioner,” said Marc Ganis, a sports consultant with close ties to Goodell. “Whether it’s the NFL or another league, he is a meaningful candidate.”
Warren’s hire as B1G commissioner came as a surprise to most. Until the last 24 hours, Northwestern’s Jim Phillips was expected to be the top candidate.
Delany was in the position for 30 years, the type of run that is unprecedented considering the nature of the business. Nobody anticipates that Warren will hold the position for three decades, but the conference probably would want more than a five-year commitment.
It’s still a long time until 2024, but it might be something to keep an eye on as Goodell’s contract begins to enter the final years.