On. Off. On, maybe? The 10 craziest developments since the B1G postponed its fall season
It’s been 21 days since the Big Ten officially announced it was postponing its fall football season until the spring. And if you thought that meant the B1G would be out of the news cycle until March, well, you had another thing coming.
And another thing.
It’s been nonstop news since the league decided on Aug. 11 to postpone. That announcement was shocking in its own right, especially considering the conference held a televised schedule release in which it bragged about its flexibility only 6 days earlier.
The latest developments broke Tuesday when President Trump revealed he spoke with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and encouraged a fall restart. Hours later, Dan Patrick tweeted this:
“From source: If conference can pass updated safety measures and procedures, Big Ten targeting Oct. 10 to start football season.” – Dan Patrick
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) September 1, 2020
It’s up for you to decide whether this has either been wildly entertaining or two more big teases.
Here is the definitive ranking of the 10 craziest developments since the B1G canceled its fall season:
10. Parents, players passionately speak out
Furious with Kevin Warren’s handling of this situation, parents from B1G teams gathered in Rosemont, Ill. at the league offices to hold a peaceful protest. While some in the media mocked the seriousness of it, Ohio State parent Randy Wade made some great points (including one of my biggest concerns).
And it wasn’t just the parents. The players, led by Heisman finalist Justin Fields, also were very vocal on social media about their desire to play. Fields started a petition that garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures in just a few days. It was noteworthy that Fields was leading the charge because he could very easily skip a fall season and be one of the first few picks of the 2021 NFL Draft.
9. Brohm, Sports Illustrated come out with dueling schedule ideas
The B1G clearly was not prepared with a plan to move forward, as it was a chaotic few weeks after it decided to postpone. The coaches and players had no idea how to proceed, which was frustrating in and of itself. The B1G should have been ready with a spring plan, considering it had 5 months during the pandemic to go through every scenario.
That led to a surprising schedule proposal from Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm. It was noteworthy that Brohm had mapped this out (in impressive detail) more than the Big Ten, at that point, and released it to the public. His version would’ve had games beginning in late February. Sports Illustrated also came out with an interesting model that would have the Big Ten starting in early January.
8. Kevin Warren’s open letter and bizarre interviews
I don’t think we need to rehash everything Warren has said over the past 3 weeks, as I have written extensively about the bizarre communications, as has just about every other college football outlet. I know most people are working remotely right now, but can we have a PR person in some meetings with Warren? It’s as if the Big Ten does not have a PR staffer review Warren’s plan before he goes public. Starting with the Big Ten Network interview in which he said basically nothing, to the open letter that left us with even more questions, Warren has shown his inexperience.
It’s noteworthy that the Pac-12 made the same exact decision on the same exact day as the Big Ten, and it has not become the national punchline that the B1G has been.
7. The rest of college football proceeds as scheduled
Elsewhere in college football, I wouldn’t say it’s like any other season (not with some individual games getting postponed), but there are those headlines that come out every few days that really have to irk fans of B1G teams. For instance, the SEC came out with its CBS and ESPN schedule on Tuesday (cue that wonderful theme music up while we still can!). And last week, the College Football Playoff announced its rankings plan and games schedule. Also last week, the preseason AP poll came out.
On top of that, Central Arkansas and Austin Peay played a game last Saturday! A real game. It’s a never-ending reminder to the B1G about what it is missing. Just wait until the SEC starts on September 26. And there are fans in the stands. That will really hit hard.
6. Coaches openly speaking out against Warren, lack of leadership
Coaches like Ryan Day, James Franklin and Scott Frost have not been afraid of voicing their displeasure with Warren. Anytime you have 3 of your most prominent coaches publicly questioning your leadership, it’s going to make headlines all over the place. It’s only added fuel to the fire that this was handled poorly. Whether Warren can mend some fences with these high-profile programs is definitely a storyline to watch moving forward
5. Kevin Warren’s son is still playing for Mississippi State
Maybe the worst aspect of all of this from a PR standpoint — and why so many B1G fans, players and coaches have trouble understanding this decision — is that Warren’s son is playing this fall for Mississippi State. It’s easy for a leader to justify a decision using the phrase, “Well, if my own kid was in this situation, then …” Well, Warren’s son is playing this fall.
And that’s not to begrudge Powers Warren, he is allowed to make his own decision. It makes for some bad headlines for his father, though.
4. Nebraska’s near-mutiny
Anytime a league member seems like it is very close to leaving the conference and abandoning a pile of cash that was the original reason it joined, that’s eye-popping. The fact that it was flirting with its ex, the Big 12, is even more interesting. Honestly, Nebraska could have taken up several spots on this list, when you consider 8 of its players also filed a lawsuit. Speaking of that lawsuit, it revealed some interesting information on whether the B1G actually voted.
3. The voting saga
Originally, Dan Patrick reported that the B1G had voted 12-2 in favor of canceling the season, with the 2 dissenters being Nebraska and Iowa. But Warren sidestepped the question of a vote during his BTN interview, obviously wanting to save face and not deal with the reality that his conference was not completely aligned. And then there were comments from officials from B1G schools that called into question whether there was actually a real vote. Maybe this story will finally be put to bed after Nicole Auerbach reported that it was actually an 11-3 vote, with Ohio State also voting not to postpone.
The silence from university presidents has been frustrating considering this is a conference with 13 public university presidents paid by tax-payers. It’s obviously an unpopular decision from which they want to hide.
2. B1G reportedly considering Thanksgiving or even earlier
When I saw this headline, I literally said out loud, “Wait, what?!” Could the B1G really be considering starting its season that early? I get that the B1G wants to finish as soon as possible and starting around Thanksgiving, when students would be going home for the next 6-8 weeks, would create an ideal bubble.
But it also doesn’t make any sense for several reasons. For one, what could possibly change between now and when the teams would have to start getting ready for a Thanksgiving start from a health standpoint? And also, can you imagine how awkward it would be for the B1G to start playing while the real season featuring the SEC, Big 12 and ACC is still going and not have a chance at the national title? It would be just another PR disaster.
1. Trump, Dan Patrick star in Super Tuesday
Out of all the crazy days of the last 3 weeks, Tuesday may take the cake. Because just when this story seems like it’s going to die, a fresh bit of news emerges and pours gasoline on the fire. Tuesday morning, President Trump did just that when he tweeted that he had a “productive conversation” with Warren about “immediately starting up Big Ten football. He added that it is “on the one-yard line.”
And then Dan Patrick, who only on Monday reported on his show that a Thanksgiving start was “a very long shot” suddenly reversed course on Tuesday and reported that the Big Ten was considering an Oct. 10 start date. It was Patrick, if you’ll recall, who originally had the report that the B1G voted 12-2 in favor of canceling.
Hold on while I catch my breath.
Anyways, regardless of what you think of Trump, my goodness, that was quite the tweet. And it underscores that this story only gets wackier by the day/minute.
Who knows whether this thing is actually on the “one-yard-line” as Trump suggested. You should be skeptical of politicians from both parties when they tell you things because if you didn’t already know by now, every message is coordinated. This being an election year and the B1G being home to several key states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania probably has something to do with this, considering he didn’t mention the Pac-12, a region of the country where there isn’t really anything to gain politically.
But aren’t we allowed to hope that it really is close and, as Lettermen Row reported, that Trump is trying to help the B1G out with testing?
And buckle up, B1G fans. If the past 3 weeks are any indication, this list will be outdated by next week. If not sooner.