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Conference expansion and player benefits highlight day one of Big Ten football media days

Coaches and players are excited for USC and UCLA to enter conference

INDIANAPOLIS — Big Ten Media Days kicked off in Indianapolis on Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium. The site of the Big Ten Championship game is a destination that Penn State would like to revisit in early December. 

We are months away from seeing who qualifies for the title game.  Meanwhile, there is plenty of stuff to talk about on the turf that once featured a Grant Haley and Marcus Allen stick to win the the 2016 conference title. 

Conference commissioner Kevin Warren spoke about the work that needs to be done to fully integrate USC and UCLA into the conference.  

Plenty of coaches stepped to the podium and all gushed about westward trips. Minnesota Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck spoke with FOX43 and couldn't hold back his smile.

"I think it is fantastic," Fleck said. He went on to mention the footprint of Big Ten alumni living up and down the West Coast. 

Watch the video above to hear from Commissioner Warren and P.J Fleck on Big Ten expansion

The other topic at the forefront, player compensation.  With the Big Ten set to sign new and massive media rights deals, additional player benefits is a topic that needs to be addressed.  

Recent reports from CBS Sports say the Penn State players met with a labor group in a secretive meeting on July 14th. 

In response, the Big Ten Conference created a Student-Athlete Advisory and Advocacy Committee. Commissioner Kevin Warren was asked about the possible direct payment of players in the future. 

"I've already started some dialogue with our student-athletes," said Warren from the podium. "We're going to amplify that committee here quickly. I want to hear it from them. I want to be a great listener to figure out what is important to them. It's so easy to talk about money and share money, but what does that really mean? I want to make sure that I listen and learn to be able to have big ears and a small mouth to truly understand what's important to them."

Two of the players selected for the SAAAC are Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford and Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan.  Fleck believes Warren made wise choices with those 6th year Seniors.

In the video above Fleck and FOX Sports College Football Analyst Joel Klatt talk about the newly formed committee and what the players may be able to achieve regarding future medical benefits. 

Fleck also talked about bringing back Offensive Coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca.  The Red Land alum left Minnesota for Penn State in 2020.  FOX43 also interviewed Gophers 6th year Quarterback Tanner Morgan about what it is like to play for Ciarrocca. 

Klatt also took time to speak to FOX43.  The networks lead college football analyst is excited to call the Penn State opener at Purdue on September 1st, a game that you can see on FOX43.

Download the FOX43 app here. 

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