The Big Ten’s New Boss Wants Players Talking About Big Issues


The first night of the men’s basketball tournament.

When people talk about momentum in a game, you could feel that there was a larger momentum and I just got this sense that at some point in time over the next month I was going to be asked or required to make some very adult decisions, and it ended up being within the next 10 hours.

What are your days like right now?

I have a daily call with our athletic directors at 7:45 in the morning, and then I have the Power Five commissioners at 9:25. And then I talk regularly with our chancellors and presidents. I’ve been averaging 80 to 85 conference calls every week.

I think the shortest day we’ve had has been 12 hours, and now I understand why people really like their weekends.

But this has taught me to focus on the simple pleasures. I’ve also been spending a lot of time on my prayer life. I actually distributed “Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge” to my family and whoever on our staff wanted it.

How have you been following sports?

I watched a couple of the Masters reruns. Other than that, I haven’t watched any sports rewinds. I’ve paid more attention these last two months on what’s going on in the world. I’ve always been focused and intrigued by the financial markets — if I wasn’t doing this, I’d be working on Wall Street — but now I’m really focusing more on world politics.

Have you binged any shows?

I never was a TV watcher, so I never had a show. My wife always had a show. But during this period, we tried to pick something almost every night, so we ended up watching 30 episodes of “Ozark,” and then we watched documentaries: “The Black Godfather;” we watched one on Miles Davis, and the most recent one, which was amazing, was “Who Killed Malcolm X?” We watched that right before the George Floyd murder happened.

How have you coped with being cooped up?

I’m a huge salad person — these garbage salads where you have chicken and shrimp and avocados — so that’s been a go-to of mine.



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