Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said his league is keeping a close eye on possible expansion developments involving the Southeastern Conference.
In his opening remarks at the conference media days on Thursday, Warren also announced the league was hiring former Wisconsin athletic director and head coach Barry Alvarez to oversee football operations.
Alvarez would play a key role in any counter move from the Big Ten if Oklahoma and Texas apply to join the SEC, as has been reported.
"That's why I'm so thankful Barry Alvarez in joining us," Warren said. "These are all the kind of things, just collectively, that we as a conference will be able to think through, talk through. We are constantly evaluating what's best for the conference."
The Big Ten is allowing individual institutions to oversee COVID-19 protocols with each school submitting a proposal in early August.
"We are right where we wanted to be in that it will be a decentralized process," Warren said, adding that the league will attempt to pressure-test university proposals. "We will have that done prior to our first game 37 days away from today."
As a byproduct of COVID-19 planning sessions, flexibility in scheduling has been discussed, Warren said, adding he is on recurring calls with commissioners from the Power Five conferences with development ideas on the table.
The Big Ten and Warren took sharp criticism for delaying the start of football season and implementing a shortened schedule.
"I don't have any regrets. Quite naturally, we look back at our lives and we all have things we might have done differently," Warren said. "But if I had it to do all over last year, I would make the same decisions that we made. You've heard me say it today: Making sure we keep our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions. ... If we put them at the epicenter of those decisions, we're going to be OK.
"It was a very, very complicated time in our lives. When you add it all up, the biggest thing I learned is the importance of being grateful but also having a sense of grace, not only with ourselves but others."
--Field Level Media