Ravens’ Harbaugh makes opinion known: ‘Free the Big Ten’
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has his little brother’s back.
Harbaugh closed his news conference via Zoom on Wednesday expressing support for the Big Ten to play football this fall. Jim Harbaugh is the head coach at Michigan.
The Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 that it was delaying the start of the fall sports season — including football — until the spring because of the risks presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Free the Big Ten. Let’s go,” John Harbaugh said. “Let’s go play some football. Let’s get Michigan and Ohio State and all those great teams playing some football out there. Michigan had zero positive tests in August, they’re doing a great job with protocols and those guys want to play. For anybody who wants to opt out, they can. They can.
“Their families should have that choice just like the [SEC] gave the players and the families that choice. Most of them decided to play as a family. I think the Big Ten players should have that choice. I’m on record, there you go, you got it. Free the Big Ten.”
Jim Harbaugh issued a plea to the conference to not postpone the season before the decision became official, citing the success of the Wolverines players taking part in the protocols.
“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” Harbaugh wrote in a lengthy statement issued on Aug. 10, citing the lack of virus spread among his team.
“It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results. We respect the challenge that the virus has presented, however we will not cower from it.”
And he pointed to Michigan’s model as proof players can avoid contracting the virus.
“We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play,” he wrote. “If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.”
Reports emerged Friday that the Big Ten could start around Thanksgiving instead of in the spring, as has been planned.
President Donald Trump stepped into the fray on Tuesday and touted a phone call with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, continuing his effort to get the conference to return to the field this season.
“Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football,” Trump said in a tweet. “Would be good (great!) for everyone – Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!”
–Field Level Media