Paul Finebaum discusses the first big hurdle for new Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko05/01/23


With a new job, comes the first big hurdle for Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti. With a new era of the conference coming, Paul Finebaum outlined the first challenge for Petitti.

Kevin Warren got off to a rocky start amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but it turned into additions of USC and UCLA and a huge television deal with CBS. Now, Petitti has to follow suit.

Finebaum outlined it all for the new Big Ten commissioner on McElroy and Cubelic.

“I think he has an opportunity and is well positioned to do this,” Finebaum said. “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. 

“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.”

But with Petitti’s previous experience, the Big Ten could be in good hands. That’s despite the conference already landing a giant new TV deal with CBS.

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“(Petitti’s) got great television experience,” Finebaum said. “He was part of the BCS, putting together the BCS and right now all that stuff is going on. How does the CFP look? We heard about that the other day. What does the future look like once we get to 2026? I expect him to be at that table based on what I know about him and I don’t know him. I expect him to do things the way they should be done and I expect him to work with Sankey and the other commissioners the way it’s supposed to be done.”