Pat Fitzgerald talks B1G decision to move to conference-only schedule
Not long after the B1G made its decision to push towards a conference-only schedule for all fall sports, including college football, Big Ten Network reached out to several analysts, coaches and other experts to talk about the move. One of those individuals was Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
The news from the B1G might have been monumental, but it certainly wasn’t surprising. Conversations about playing a conference-only schedule have been discussed for months now, and it felt like a matter of time before conferences made that decision.
Fitzgerald says he respects and understands the move, especially if it gives the conference the best chance to play in the fall.
“I applaud the B1G, commissioner Kevin Warren and the administrators and presidents, chancellors and ADs for really being thoughtful and working with our doctors throughout the B1G and trying to find a way, if it’s healthy and safe to have all of our athletes have the opportunity to compete this year,” Fitzgerald said on BTN. “That’s been the driving force behind all the discussions.”
The goal is to create a safe and healthy environment for student-athletes as spikes in COVID-19 continue to hit different regions of the country. Eliminating some of those cross-country trips — Michigan-Washington, Ohio State-Oregon, San Jose State-Penn State — is a smart move.
Fitzgerald says it was also a move that helps get fall sports back.
“This was a step in that direction today,” he said.
Fitzgerald was also asked to provide an update on how players were feeling given the circumstances at this time. While the head coach admitted there’s probably a lot of frustration, he says his team understands that the conference is going through extreme measures to ensure the health and safety of its student-athletes.
He also said that he believes a good portion of the players feel safest in Northwestern’s facilities.
“I think they understand that everything is being done with the No. 1 priority being the right way that it always is, and that’s health and safety. Those are the protocols that we’ve all put in place locally,” Fitzgerald said. “They’ve been managed and handled by our medical experts. I think our players feel that the safest environment that they’re in is in our facilities.”
You can listen to Fitzgerald’s comments below:
Pat Fitzgerald wants to play this fall. But only if it's safe for everybody involved.
"This was a step in that direction today."@coachfitz51 | @NUFBFamily pic.twitter.com/9Krhicsn4D
— Northwestern On BTN (@NUOnBTN) July 9, 2020