Nebraska football fans have disliked Kevin Warren for a long time. But then it seemed like he finally got something right. Until he didn’t.
The something he got right was supposed to be the massive television rights package he put together towards the end of his reign. It was a good enough deal that I, not exactly impressed by Kevin Warren up until that point, wondered if he was maybe a hero.
I added that when he left for the Chicago Bears, that Nebraska football and Big Ten fans might end up missing him. Turns out, it seems more likely than ever that he’s going to go down as a pretty massive miss. A new article by ESPN points out that it appears he left a bit of a mess regarding that media rights deal.
"“These deals aren’t done, and they aren’t what they were represented to be from the standpoint of the NBC deal and the availability of all members to participate in November games in primetime.”"
That’s the opinion of one television industry source.
But it’s more than that. New Big Ten Commissioner Tony Pettiti now has to finish the deal up and get all the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. But it doesn’t appear everything’s just a technicality. The lack of a signed deal has lead to Nebraska football and other programs not making what they thought they would.
"“As a result, there’s a trail of unhappy athletic directors seeing money disappearing from their bottom line, frustrated television executives and big-name coaches irked about the lack of transparency in details that weren’t communicated to them.”"
Nebraska football fans can hate Kevin Warren again
The former commish drew a lot of anger from Nebraska football fans, particularly for how he handled getting the league ready to play during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. The anger even led to a lawsuit. Even after the Big Ten decided to play football that fall, plenty of decisions still drew a ton of ire.
For the most part, Warren was far more low-key after that season. The wrong decisions were far smaller in scope, and it even seemed like he’d come into his own when the college football world was blown away by how much money he got from NBC and others. Even if it meant eschewing the most prominent sports network in the world in ESPN.
Now, it appears that the massive deal was flubbed. And it means that Nebraska football and other member programs are going to have to pay back a combined $65 million to Fox because Warren made promises he couldn’t and never would have been able to deliver on.
The programs could lose even more money because not everyone wants to play November night games. That is key to the NBC agreement. While Nebraska football seems to be one of the teams that have no problem with it, Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State have pushed back.
Warren apparently threw up his hands, declared the deal done, and accepted the accolades.
Just how much damage was done is still up in the air. But what is clear is that Nebraska football fans, who have been trying to warn the rest of the conference for a while now, get the last laugh.