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Big Ten presidents meeting Tuesday morning to discuss whether fall sports will be played

Bill Rabinowitz
brabinow@dispatch.com
The Ohio State Buckeye team tunnel could be empty this season at Ohio Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University on August 11, 2020. Ohio State Buckeyes are set to host Rutgers on September 12.

Big Ten Conference presidents and chancellors reportedly are scheduled to meet virtually at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday with the expectation that they will decide whether to proceed with fall sports in 2020, including football.

Ohio State’s football team resumed practice on Tuesday, but it’s possible it could be their final one of the season. The leaders of the 14 conference schools had meetings on Saturday and Sunday. Though a formal vote on whether to postpone the season because of coronavirus fears didn’t occur, only Iowa and Nebraska were said to be in favor of continuing with the season.

Incoming Ohio State president Kristina Johnson, who officially starts Aug. 24, participated in Sunday’s discussion but not Saturday’s. An OSU source told The Dispatch on Monday that she favors delaying the season and would vote against canceling it.

That revelation came in the wake of strong statements by Buckeye players and coach Ryan Day in favor of keeping hopes for a season alive.

“If we need to take a deep breath, let’s take a deep breath,” Day said in an interview with ESPN. “But let’s do everything we can (to have a season). We owe it to these kids to exhaust every single option we possibly can, and then we go from there. But (canceling) right now, to me, would be abrupt.”

The league’s athletic directors had a meeting on Monday night.

The Big Ten released its conference-only schedule last Wednesday, though officials cautioned then that the season’s status remained precarious. In the days after that, the Mid-American Conference decided to postpone its season and Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren instructed football teams they could not advance to practicing with pads other than helmets.

By Monday, it seemed a foregone conclusion that the season would be postponed. Then came statements by Day and other prominent Big Ten coaches such as Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Nebraska’s Scott Frost and Penn State’s James Franklin asking Big Ten leaders to reconsider.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch

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