Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, responding to the death of George Floyd, announced Monday that he is founding an Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition for the conference.
Warren, the first African American commissioner of one of the NCAA's Power 5 conferences, referenced the deaths of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile and Emmett Till in his statement.
He wrote, "George Floyd's death cannot be in vain.
"I have made the decision to create the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition and invite student-athletes, coaches, athletic directors, chancellors, presidents and others to join me.
"I have already received powerful notes of support and interest in joining this coalition and look forward to partnering with the existing diversity councils on our various campuses. It is critical that our student-athletes possess their rights to free speech, their rights to peaceful protest and we will work to empower them in creating meaningful change."
Warren previously was the chief executive officer of the Minnesota Vikings from 2015-19, the first African American to hold that position with an NFL team.
He and his wife, Greta, announced Monday a personal $100,000 gift from the Warren Family Foundation to the Washington-based National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights to aid in addressing racism, hate and voter-registration issues.
Warren wrote, "As a Black man, I pray every day for the health and safety of my wife and children, especially during interactions with law enforcement. We continue to see inequality and deep divide regarding how members of the Black community are treated compared to the rest of society and too often, the results have been horrific and senseless. Such racism and inequality are pervasive, not just endemic in law enforcement.
"Meaningful change will only occur if, as a nation, we are united, resilient and determined to create difficult, uncomfortable dialogue and take significant tangible action. We all need to strive to make the world a better place. One person, one family, one city, one state, one conference, one country."
He added, "We must listen to our young people. Our children and future generations deserve better. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. The Big Ten Conference will be part of the solution as we actively and constructively combat racism and hate in our country."
Floyd, a black man, died May 25 when white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for eight-plus minutes while arresting him.
--Field Level Media