The Big Ten Conference announced last week, on August 11th, that fall sports, including football, were canceled for the fall and that the conference would look into trying to pick up the season in the spring. The press conference, led by commissioner Kevin Warren, left various questions unanswered and deeper questions to fans and media alike as the decision-making process seemed to be cloaked in some veil of secrecy. The conference had just released its ten-game amended conference schedule five days prior to the announcement and was on the heels of the players #WeWantToPlay movement.
Last night, August 18th, a freelance sports reporter, Jeff Snook, took to Facebook to publish an article about the Ohio State athletic director, Gene Smith, “working on a plan to get five other Big Ten teams to participate in [a] ten-game schedule this fall.”
The schedule Format Proposed
According to Snook, “No matter what has been stated publicly, Ohio State hierarchy hasn’t yet given up playing football this fall.” In the report, Snook cites anonymous sources who have informed him that Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa are all wanting to play football, and are trying to convince the school presidents at Michigan and Wisconsin to play with them.
Ohio State reportedly wants to gather five other schools in the conference to participate in a home-and-home series across the board to play 10 games.
If you love watching Ohio State destroy Michigan once a year, think about it: This year, you could watch it twice! The schedule wouldn’t be ideal, but it would be rigorous and something rather than nothing. Double matchups of Ohio State against Penn State, Michigan against Wisconsin, and Iowa against Nebraska would be entertaining for certain.
Pressure from Players
When rumors began swirling on the evening of August 9th, 2020, that college football conferences were going to start canceling football, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence spoke up and spoke loud for the world to hear.
People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play. Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19 (1)— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 9, 2020
Hundreds of college football players spoke out about the safety of their schools, how they wanted to play football, and how they felt safer in their schools in the football program. They were joined by coaches and parents and the majority of the sports media ignored them and tried to silence them.
Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started a petition on Sunday, August 16th, that as of present time has accumulated over 280,000 signatures, to reinstate Big Ten football in the fall of 2020. These schools have to be looking at that petition, realizing that 280,000 people would fill up these six school’s stadiums at half capacity.
.@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields speaks with @michaelstrahan about his “We Want to Play” petition and why he says players feel safer inside their training facilities. https://t.co/K88Cs77f3a pic.twitter.com/iuT1VCGl3Q— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 19, 2020
On an appearance this morning, August 19th, on Good Morning America, Fields said that he feels that “a lot of players feel more safe around the facility, around our protocols, rather than just being around campus like a regular student.” Ohio State is testing players twice a week, and now with saliva tests available at groundbreaking rates, testing is more readily available and affordable for schools.
Does this actually happen?
Per Snook, however, despite urging from Michigan athletic director, Warde Manual, and Michigan head coach, Jim Harbaugh, Michigan’s school president, Mark Schlissel, is very much opposed to playing the season. Snooks source reported that “several seven and eight-figure donors are very unhappy with the Big Ten’s decision and are putting pressure on [Schlissel] to change his mind.” The source also speculated that the donors are threatening to hold money.
Wisconsin is facing similar problems, where athletic director, Barry Alvarez, wants to go ahead with the plan but “has been unable to convince [University of Wisconsin] president Drew Peterson.”
The fact of the matter is that the Big Ten if the SEC, ACC, and the Big 12 all play football this season and the Big ten doesn’t, there will be long-term problems in the hands of the conference. Recruiting will become more difficult, television contracts not worth as much, and schools will lose a lot of revenue.
Any school that participates in the season this year will help them in the long term.