Parents of Big Ten athletes releases letter criticizing conference, commissioner Kevin Warren

Bill Rabinowitz
Holding her dog, Sadie, Ohio State football parent Candace Wilson speaks during a news conference asking for more transparency and communication by the Big Ten outside of their headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, on  Aug. 21. Parents from Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin were just some on hand for the protest.

An umbrella group representing parent organizations of Big Ten football players has released an open letter to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, saying it is disappointed with his lack of transparency and that they lack confidence in his leadership.

Warren announced the Big Ten’s cancellation of a fall sports season on Aug. 11. After a week of widespread criticism about the lack of details about the decision-making process, Warren released a statement on Aug. 19 that sought to address the reasons.

The parents groups, who met for several days on Zoom calls to discuss a response, are not placated.

“We are extremely disappointed in your Aug. 19, 2020 correspondence in response to widespread requests for an explanation,” said the letter, which was signed by a coalition calling themselves Big 10 Parents United.

“Candidly, at this point, the parent organizations have a total lack of confidence in your ability to lead and communicate effectively with all key stakeholders.”

The letter lists three concerns and demands. The first is transparency of process, asking for all communication related to the decision to cancel fall sports. The second is a parent organization forum in which Warren would address their questions. The final request involves answering questions about Return to Competition task force the Big Ten formed as it weighs whether and how to proceed with a replacement fall season in 2021.

Amanda Babb, president of Ohio State’s parents group, FPAOS, said the umbrella parents group accepts that it is too late to reverse the Big Ten’s decision not to play this fall.

“That ship has sailed for a season in the fall,” Babb told The Dispatch. “(Warren) said that wouldn’t be revisited. The players have been essentially off now for two weeks.

“So a lot of what the letters asks for is that we would still like transparency on what went down as far as who voted what and the process. And then what is the plan moving forward and how is that going to be communicated to the parents?

“We don’t want the same thing to happen in the winter/spring. What is the playbook or the plan for the spring? We’re asking for more communication and transparency moving forward.”

Ohio State parents are planning a rally at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ohio Stadium to express their frustrations.