In a lawsuit filed by eight Nebraska football players against the Big Ten Conference, the group says it is seeking more transparency on the vote that led to the league’s decision to postpone the season indefinitely. Today, we’ve gotten some interesting news on the 2020-21 Big Ten football season, which has a bit more momentum for a late fall start now.
This morning, it was reported that the Big Ten is discussing the potential to start play Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally rivalry week in the sport. That could allow for things to finish up in the early winter, with time for players to prep for the 2021 NFL Draft. There are other proposals for a spring season on the table, and everything is reportedly far from being settled.
If the Big Ten football season has any chance of returning in some capacity, there needs to be more buy-in from school presidents. We don’t have a clear picture of how the voting went when the league elected to postpone things. Per the Omaha World-Herald, only three school presidents were fully onboard with the initial scheduling adjustment, in which the Big Ten would go conference-only starting on Sept 5.
“Proponents of a Thanksgiving start face an uphill climb to convince the many league presidents who initially voted against playing a fall season,” Sam McKewon reports. “(Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Ronnie) Green called the vote overwhelmingly in favor of postponement. The World-Herald has heard from multiple sources that just three university administrations — NU, Iowa and Ohio State — fully supported playing football under the Big Ten’s original flex schedule, which was slated to begin Sept. 5.
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) August 28, 2020
If there is improved affordable, accurate, fast-turnaround testing on the horizon, that could help Big Ten presidents reverse course. Whether or not November is enough time for that to become a reality is a major question. The Big Ten may also get the chance to see how the ACC, Big 12, and SEC seasons go when those leagues start up in September, before making any major decisions.
The fact that higher-ups are at least exploring a November start would seem to indicate that there’s a chance that the presidents and chancellors could get on board, in the right situation.
Hopefully we some more clarity on the situation very soon.