Big Ten media day address another delayed first for commissioner Kevin Warren

AP Photo/LM Otero

INDIANAPOLIS -- In 2020, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren often looked at a picture on his desk. The photo showed his parents, Morrison and Margaret, with 9-month-old Kevin in 1964.

Warren knows what mom and dad would have said to him if they had been alive last year: Two words you need to delete from your vernacular are: Fair and free.

"They told me that from as far back as I can remember," he said. "It's not even in my thought process that something is fair or unfair, or something is free. Sometimes situations in life, opportunities, they just [exist]. Last year was a challenge on multiple levels: personally, professionally, especially in a new environment. But as I look back, am I a better leader compared to this time last year? Absolutely. Do I have better relationships with people than a year or 18 months ago? Absolutely.

"Although painful, it was worth it."

Warren's first year with the Big Ten was often painful and rarely unfolded as he had envisioned. He also did not receive a free pass, despite an unprecedented situation.