Shaun Wade’s father will travel to Big Ten offices Friday with persuasion in mind

Bill Rabinowitz
Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade (24), shown here in the 2018 Michigan game, is among the players whose parents are fighting for them to play football this season. Wade's father, Randy, will travel to Chicago on Friday with hopes of meeting with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.

Randy Wade is just a father, fighting for his son and his teammates.

“I’m nobody,” he said.

Well, not exactly. His son is Ohio State star cornerback Shaun Wade, whose junior and presumably final football season as a Buckeye was ended before it started when the Big Ten announced last week it would not play this fall.

Unless …

Wade is one of the OSU parents who supports the letter its association wrote to the Big Ten asking the conference to reconsider its decision. Wade is going to do more than that. On Friday, he will fly from Orlando to Chicago to go to the Big Ten office in suburban Rosemont, Illinois.

Contrary to some speculation on social media, Wade is not demanding a meeting with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.

“He doesn’t have to talk to me,” he said.

But Wade doesn’t want to be alone. He’s hoping parents and supporters from all over the Big Ten join him.

“I’m super-nervous,” Wade acknowledged. “My thing is power in numbers. If you look through the history of America, there’s power in numbers. The more numbers we bring, they’ve got to do something, they’ve got to say something.”

Asked how many people he hopes join him, Wade laughed and said, “Thousands, hopefully,” before adding that hundreds is a more realistic goal.

“Iowa parents have reached out,” he said. “Penn State parents have reached out. Iowa is going to try to contact Northwestern parents.”

Wade said he was inspired by conversations the past couple of weeks with Ohio State coaches and with his son. The online petition started by Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields ultimately prompted him to act.

“This was a young man making great strides,” Wade said. “I thought, ‘What can I do as an adult and as a dad?’ Take it to the next level and the next step is to try to make the Big Ten speak up a little.”

Wade would like to ask the Big Ten why it decided to cancel the fall season instead of delaying it when developments such as the rapid-result saliva COVID-19 testing could make playing more realistic.

The Big Ten said its decision was based on a genuine concern for the safety and well-being of its athletes. Wade doesn’t take issue with that.

“I respect Kevin Warren and the Big Ten for their decision,” he said. “That’s very, very important (to say). There is a pandemic going on.”

But he has seen the sacrifices that his son and other college athletes have made to safeguard themselves against COVID-19. The conference announced the cancellation of the fall season just six days after its revised scheduled was released.

“We feel it was done in haste,” Wade said. “We feel it was rushed. Let’s dial back a minute and see if we can have a season.”


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