Two days after the ten grand presidents and chancellors met to review information about a possible fall football season, University of Nebraska system president Ted Carter was caught on a hot microphone and said an announcement would come later Tuesday.
Carter spoke with Bob Hinson, director of the National Strategic Research Institute, before a news conference Tuesday in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“We’re getting ready to announce Huskers and Big Ten football tonight,” Carter told Hinson in a video broadcast by KETV television in Omaha.
“Really?” Hinson replied. “I heard it happened. There’s a lot of expectation about it. Good for you. Maybe it̵
Carter replied, “Well, it never will, but it’s a good step in the right direction.”
Carter, who is not one of the 14 presidents and chancellors who will vote on the decision, was later asked about the conversation that was held on the hot mic.
“I think it was taken a little out of context,” Carter told KLKN-TV. “All I said is that work is going on and we remain cautiously optimistic, just like everyone else, that we are going to discover when it’s safe to play.”
The Big Ten could not immediately confirm that a message would come later Tuesday.
The High League’s Presidents and Chancellors’ Council met for several hours on Sunday afternoon with members of the task force to return to competition, reviewing the latest medical information on the safe resumption of play during the coronavirus pandemic as well as planning and television plans. The working group’s medical subcommittee also met Saturday with eight presidents or chancellors, including Ronnie Green, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Sunday’s meeting did not result in a vote on whether the fall football season should begin.
The Big Ten on August 11 postponed all fall sports seasons, including football, due to concerns about the pandemic. League presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to postpone, with only Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa choosing to move on. A vote to play an autumn season would require at least 60% of the presidents and chancellors (nine or more).
Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank said at a video news conference Monday with reporters that the league would “move on together” on a decision on whether to play fall football or not.
“This is not going to be something from school to school,” Blank said.
Speaking at a U.S. Senate hearing on Tuesday about the future of college athlete compensation, Blank said the Big Ten would continue the postponement until questions about testing, contact tracking and heart problems related to COVID-19 could be answered.
The Big Ten Medical Subcommittee, co-chaired by Ohio State senior team physician Dr. Jim Borchers and Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour outlined plans that included not only new test options but also the latest information on myocarditis, a viral inflammation of the heart muscle, and other conditions found in athletes recovering from COVID-19.
The league is investigating at least four options for rapid antigen testing that could allow teams to test daily for COVID-19 and significantly reduce the amount of contact tracking needed, sources said. The medical subcommittee includes senior team physicians from Northwestern, Indiana, and Maryland, as well as experts in sports medicine and infectious diseases.
Sunday’s presentation also expanded beyond the medical component to include more detailed information on how and when the big ten could start the season along with possible dates and the medical thresholds each team must meet to return.
A potential start date of October 17 is, according to sources, an option under discussion and is likely to allow Big Ten teams to complete a regular season of eight or nine games before the College Football Playoffs are selected.
Six Big Ten teams appeared in the AP preseason poll, including No. 2 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State.