B1G responds to letter form Midwest political leaders calling for conference to reverse decision
The B1G has responded to a letter it received from 10 political leaders from six B1G states in the Midwest. It released a statement on Wednesday afternoon.
“We could not agree more with the group of Midwest legislators who stated in a letter to Commissioner Kevin Warren that the Big Ten Conference is ‘home to some of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, scientific research and medicine,” the response read. “The Big Ten’s Return to Competition Task Force is tapping into those resources as it prepares for a safe return to competition.
“The letter reflects that we all want the same thing, which is for ‘sports to continue safely.’ The conference will continue to work with the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C), as it has always done, to identify opportunities to resume competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN shared the response on Twitter.
Earlier this week, Speaker of the Michigan House Lee Chatfield and nine other Midwest legislators penned a note to Warren and the conference’s 14 presidents and chancellors. It was signed by representatives from Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Below are the contents of the letter:
We would like to express our desire for the Big Ten Conference to reconsider the decision to cancel the football season. After hearing from many concerned students, parents, and coaches, we have been encouraged to convey our support for their wishes and our responsibility to defend students’ long-term academic and career interests.
Recent actions taken by other conferences across the country to start football and other fall sports have placed the Big Ten, its members and students at a disadvantage. These athletes are losing a vital part of student life and are becoming less marketable to future employers with each passing week. Additionally, our local universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships.
This even more frustrating when we think of how our Big Ten athletic programs are leading the way by providing outstanding health and safety protocols. All of that unprecedented planning and teamwork was an unmitigated success, and yet somehow the conference has decided to cast it aside anyway.
Just last month, under your leadership, the Big Ten released updated and enhanced testing, quarantine and isolation policies. Our coaches and players should be given a chance to make them work. After all, this region is home to some of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, scientific research and medicine, and we are confident that they can continue to safeguard the health and safety of our student athletes.
The support among players, parents, coaches and fans is overwhelming. Therefore, we respectfully ask that you take their concerns to heart and work with the leadership at our universities to allow sports to continue safely this fall.
The letter was signed by the following political leaders from six states in the Midwest:
- Speaker Lee Chatfield, Michigan
- Senate Leader Mike Shirkey, Michigan
- Speaker Pat Grassley, Iowa
- Senate Leader Jack Whitver, Iowa
- House Republican Leader Kurt Daudt, Minnesota
- Senate Leader Paul Gazelka, Minnesota
- Senate Floor Leader Matt Huffman, Ohio
- Speaker Bryan Cutler, Pennsylvania
- Speaker Robin Vos, Wisconsin
- Senate Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Wisconsin
The B1G backed out of a fall schedule on Aug. 11, becoming the first Power 5 conference to postpone. It was the third FBS league to make that decision, joining the MAC and Mountain West.
Also in August, Warren said that the decision was final and that it would not be revisited. But with political parties now getting involved, presidents, chancellors and the commissioner might be thinking a little more about the choice to postpone fall sports.