SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as 99¢ for the first month
SUBSCRIBE NOW
As low as 99¢ for the first month

Idea of Big Ten playing football this fall gains momentum

Bill Rabinowitz
brabinow@dispatch.com
Ohio State football coach Ryan Day.

The possibility of having Big Ten football in 2020 might not be dead, after all.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith confirmed to The Dispatch on Friday that “multiple plans are and have been discussed” regarding a season that could start later this fall. Fox Sports college football reporter Bruce Feldman reported that Big Ten coaches had held a virtual meeting to discuss a plan.

Smith said the possibility of a season starting sometime in 2020 is just one of the options.

“No leader,” he said, “just multiple ideas. Working closely with our television partners.”

A report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, citing two “college football people familiar with the Big Ten,” said a season lasting eight games could start the week of Thanksgiving.

A Big Ten source said the coaches’ virtual meeting occurred Thursday and that athletic directors and some staff members had a Zoom call Friday that lasted more than two hours.

But nothing has been decided because they are waiting for guidance and leadership from commissioner Kevin Warren.

“Nothing of substance was accomplished,” the source said. “(Warren is) in a bad spot. Right now, we all need to pull together and get things done. But ADs cannot get schedules approved without the commissioner.

“A lot of work has been done, but it's just not moving forward.”

When the Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 that it would not play fall sports because of health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it targeted an alternative season that would start sometime in 2021. Eight days later, Warren released a statement to address criticism that the decision may have been premature and lacked transparency.

Warren, who replaced longtime commissioner Jim Delany at the start of the year, said the conference’s presidents and chancellors had voted “overwhelmingly” not to play this fall and said the decision would not be revisited.

Now, apparently, it is being revisited, though it’s unclear whether university leaders are willing to consider playing at any point this fall. Ohio State president Dr. Kristina Johnson voted in favor of a delay, not a cancellation, of the fall season.

Big Ten programs are permitted to work 12 hours per week with players, though in a limited way that does not include full pads. Conference programs had to cut short their spring practices because of the pandemic, and the Big Ten source worries about long-term consequences regarding recruiting and the league’s stature until a path forward is decided.

brabinowitz@dispatch.com

@brdispatch