James Franklin breaks down a coach’s relationship with conference commissioner

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison05/04/23


The Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin recently explained the relationship that he has with the conference commissioner as a head coach, saying that the relationship is an incredibly important one.

James Franklin explained this just before the Big Ten welcomed a new commissioner, Tony Petitti.

“Yeah, according to Chris, I don’t think they’ve named one yet,” James Franklin said. “There’s speculation out there, so I’m not going to get into speculation at this point.”

James Franklin then clarified that he meets with the conference commissioner multiple times a year to work on issues that are affecting coaches.

“Yeah, I think we have meetings a couple of times a year where the commissioner’s office and the coaches, specifically the football coaches and athletic directors get together and have a lot of discussion. I’ve been a part of those discussions in the SEC as a head coach. I’ve been a part of those discussions in the Big Ten,” Franklin said.

“So, yeah, I think it’s a healthy relationship. I think it’s an important relationship that the administrators hear from the practitioners. I think that’s really important, when we’re trying to fight for legislation with the NCAA or with the Big Ten or whatever we think is the best interest to college football or college athletics in general. But, I think it’s an important relationship.”

The Big Ten hired Tony Petitti as its new commissioner in April. He replaces Kevin Warren, who became the president and CEO of the Chicago Bears. Petitti is a former MLB and CBS Sports executive.

Paul Finebaum on the first hurdle for Tony Petitti

As Tony Petitti enters the fray as the Big Ten commissioner, he is inheriting a good situation within the Big Ten. However, as Paul Finebaum explained, he needs to be ready to compete with the SEC.

“I think he has an opportunity and is well positioned to do this. I think he’s well positioned to bring the Big Ten to the college football table, in a collegial manner. I think, for all of the pros and cons of Kevin Warren and he’ll get credit for things that you know, he was on the clock for but you know, he may not have been the major factor. But what Tony Petitti can do is say, You know what, we have to get along. And the first person I would reach out to would be Greg Sankey. And say, ‘Greg, it used to be that the two of the commissioners of the Big Ten and the SEC work together, off the field, off the court to make college football better, and I think that needs to happen again,” Finebaum said.

“And the reason I bring this up is Kevin Warren was an outlier. He did not get along with people, he did not want to get along with people. And I think that caused that that ended up making the Big Ten an outsider during COVID. I think it caused them tremendous problems. They got over it, they got through it. But they need to be involved. I think the SEC doesn’t need the Big Ten, but I think the Big Ten, if they’re ever going to be considered anything other than the next best conference in America, they need to work on the outside. You know the stuff on the field and play takes care of itself. But I think the Big Ten was damaged under Warren.”