Big Ten chief quashes talk of revisiting fall sports
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren released an open letter Wednesday, saying that the postponement of the fall sports season, including football, is final and will not be revisited.
The letter comes amid backlash from every corner of the Big Ten — players, parents of players, fans and even some coaches. The conference has been accused of a lack of transparency surrounding its decision on Aug. 11 to postpone the entire fall sports slate due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the letter addressed to the Big Ten community, Warren said the vote of the Big Ten presidents and chancellors was “overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited.”
“The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts,” Warren wrote in his first public comments since the controversial announcement last week.
“We understand the disappointment and questions surrounding the timing of our decision to postpone fall sports, especially in light of releasing a football schedule only six days prior to that decision,” Warren wrote. “From the beginning, we consistently communicated our commitment to cautiously proceed one day at a time with the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes at the center of our decision-making process.”
Since the announcement, Nebraska has openly considered playing football outside of the conference, parents of Iowa players penned an open letter to Warren and the Big Ten, and a petition started by Ohio State QB Justin Fields had garnered nearly 285,000 signatures. Not to mention the decision dominated the airwaves across the country.
Even Penn State coach James Franklin said he was bothered with the way the Big Ten came to the decision, calling it “gut-wrenching.”
The Big Ten has commissioned a task force to plan a return to action for fall sports.
“In evaluating winter/spring models, we will explore many factors including the number of football games that can reasonably be played from a health perspective in a full calendar year while maintaining a premier competitive experience for our student-athletes culminating in a Big Ten Championship,” Warren wrote. “The Big Ten Conference will continue to collect feedback from student-athletes, families, and other constituents and remains in active discussions with its television partners regarding all future plans.”
–Field Level Media