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Report: Big Ten Football Could Start Season In January

K.J. Hill evades a Wisconsin defensive back during the Big Ten Championship.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - DECEMBER 07: K.J. Hill #14 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball after a catch in the Big Ten Championship game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Ryan Day could wind up getting what he asked for, after Big Ten football season was canceled for the fall. The league hopes to play a spring season, and may start play as soon as January.

The timing of the season may work as something of a compromise between the league and the schools who desperately want to play this year. The Big Ten abruptly decided to cancel fall play, shortly after releasing a revised conference-only schedule. Nebraska and Ohio State were the two schools that raised the biggest issues with the quick change in direction.

In wake of the decision, Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields put up a petition on MoveOn.org. Parents from teams including Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio State have delivered messages to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, sharing their displeasure with the season.

There have been conflicting reports on whether the Big Ten may actually reverse course for the fall. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is now reporting that the league is aiming to start "as early as possible" next semester. That may allow for players to finish a season in time to work out ahead of the April 29 NFL Draft.

"Parents of (Wisconsin) football players were briefed about the plan Tuesday night and were told it involves the use of indoor facilities," Potrykus reports. "They were also told league officials are still uncertain how a shortened season would affect the eligibility of players, particularly seniors. A final decision could be made within a week."

The report mentions the use of local indoor facilities for early season games, with Big Ten winters making home games a challenge. Detroit's Ford Field, Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, and Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium are all NFL indoor facilities in the Big Ten footprint, while the report also mentions The Dome at America's Center in St. Louis and Syracuse University's Carrier Dome as other options that aren't terribly far from some Big Ten schools.

Starting in January would also help space out the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons, a major concern for moving play to the spring. Based on this timeline, the Big Ten could conceivably be done by March.

There are plenty of moving parts here, but according to the report, it sounds like a new Big Ten football schedule could be put out pretty quickly, given the outcry by so many around the league.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]