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Free press sports writers Shawn Windsor, Chris Solari and Rainer Sabin make sense of Big Ten̵

7;s giant strength decision to cancel college football in 2020.

Detroit Free Press

The big ten may, after all, play football in 2020. But as of Tuesday night, no decision had been announced to restart the season.

Conference leaders are expected to approve an eight-game schedule, nine weeks that could begin as soon as Oct. 17, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other media reported Tuesday. It would place the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 19, the day before the College Football Playoff pitch is scheduled to be unveiled. There is also a possibility that the season could begin on the weekend of October 24th.

On Tuesday night, Michigan President Samuel Stanley addressed members of the football program in a Zoom video conference call, and while Stanley did not reveal any news on when the season could begin, several people who attended the call said Stanley expected to provide an update soon .

When exactly it is left to see.

A senior at a Big Ten school told Free Press on Tuesday that it is still unclear whether all 14 teams will play or whether some may opt out of the season due to concerns over COVID-19 and other risks. Conference presidents and chancellors were not expected to announce a decision to resume the season on Tuesday, according to Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated. It has been expected that the conference will move together.

“I would say we are all moving in the big ten,” Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank said Monday in a conference call with reporters. “We should all play or not, if we can at all. This is not going to be a school-by-school thing.”

Tuesday marked the latest chaotic day in the big ten-month soap opera.

On Tuesday morning, President Ted Carter of the University of Nebraska was caught before a press conference on an open microphone by Lincoln TV station KETV, who said the conference planned to announce that it would resume football later that evening.

“We’re getting ready to announce Husker’s and Big Ten football tonight,” said Carter Bob Hinson, director of the National Strategic Research Institute, in a disguised conversation captured on camera and audio.

Around the same time – via video ahead of a hearing of the Senate subcommittee on health, education, labor and pensions on the NCAA’s rules on name, image and equality – Blank, Chancellor of Wisconsin, was avoiding questions about whether the Big Ten would resume football and autumn sports.

“I do not want to talk about it. You will have to let the big ten make this announcement when and if such a decision is made, ”she told Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia). “When such a decision is made, your first question should be, ‘What has changed?’ … I can not say what the vote will look like. Decisions within the big ten are largely majority-based decisions. But I have to be honest, we almost always decide by consensus. We very rarely take votes. ”

All of this came after Ohio State cardiologist Curt Daniels, co-author of a paper on the link to myocarditis (heart infection) among athletes who tested positive for COVID-19, told Columbus Dispatch that he was researching with Buckeye’s chief team physician Dr. James Borchers had been misunderstood. In the study, released Friday, they reported that four of 26 OSU athletes showed signs of myocarditis, while also adding that the study is still ongoing because it is an extremely small sample size.

“I think we have a safe way to get back to playing,” Daniels told the dispatch. “I hope we find a way to do that.”

In the hearing of the Senate subcommittee, Blank referred to the initial science of myocarditis when she explained why the Big Ten indefinitely delayed fall sports in August.

“There were several main reasons for that,” Blank replied. “One was that we were unsure that we could perform the level of testing and contract tracking that we needed to keep athletes safe. Second, there was this growing evidence of cardiac-related myocarditis, and this evidence was uncertain, and it was not clear what it meant. And we wanted to know more.

“There were a few other smaller reasons. But until we have the answer to that, we keep our season postponed. Once we have the answers to that and some of these issues and things that we have ways to deal with them effectively, we will try to plan a delayed season. ”

And yet, as the surreal moments in the morning and early afternoon disappeared, no official announcement came from the Big Ten. And the conference went into the evening in the same place as it has been for more than a month.

I limbo.

The talk of a potential resumption of football comes as a number of major ten universities, including Michigan State and Michigan, are dealing with COVID-19 and related issues across their campuses. Students living in East Lansing were ordered to quarantine for 14 days due to an increasing number of off-campus cases, and graduate students and staff on strike went on strike in Ann Arbor.

But football has grown into a massive optical problem for presidents as other leagues started around the country, and Big Ten parents, players and coaches sued in Nebraska and protested around the conference, where new Commissioner Kevin Warren became the focal point of fan and political frustration, including in tweets from President Donald Trump.

Although it was presidents and chancellors who voted 11-3 to postpone fall sports, Warren – not even a year in the job after taking over in retired Jim Delany – struggled with a friendly fire interview on the Big Ten Network the day the league decided to postpone. His lack of clarity and decision-makers’ lack of transparency combined with a 23-page detailed justification from the Pac-12 as to why it chose to delay the season made the Big Ten a punching bag for parents, coaches, politicians, lawyers and other conferences.

Athletes were allowed to return to campus in mid-June for volunteer training programs, though MSU was among the programs that had to undergo 14-day quarantines due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The Big Ten announced a revised schedule for just 10 conferences on August 5th. On the same day, a group of more than 1,000 Big Ten athletes issued a unity statement seeking to empower college athletes to fight injustice within their athletic communities and institutions.

MSU and UM opened preseason practice two days later. However, on August 8, Big Ten prevented the teams from extending their drills to full pads, limiting players to shorts, shirts, and helmets while minimizing contact. Conference presidents met on Saturday and three days later, on August 11, the conference announced the decision to postpone.

Contact Chris Solari: csolari@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more about Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.

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