While we are still sitting on a calendar that has yet to even reach the second week of May, it is impossible not to see the pages beginning to flutter as the college football season hangs in uncertainty.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shut down spring sports and stopped winter sports in their tracks. Fall sports are still a few months off, but they are looming.
With so many states under different distinctions of stay-at-home orders, the ability for one conference to even operate for a college football season while they are spread out over several states is up in the air right now. Plans are being put in place to make it happen, but every contingency has a contingency this far out.
One of the major questions regarding the Big Ten playing football this season may have been answered on Monday by B1G commissioner Kevin Warren. Speaking with Big Ten Network host Dave Revsine, Warren was asked if he thought the conferences would work together in returning to play, and also if he saw a scenario where some leagues may come back this year and others would not.
The thought is out there that if every school can’t play college football this year, then no schools would play. Warren seemed to nix that idea, leaving it open that the Big Ten will do what they need to do, even if it means doing things “from an independent standpoint.”
“[The Power Five commissioners] had a call this morning and I think what I had said, and I made it very clear even back to my press conference in June which seems like 10 years ago, is the fact that we will always be the Big Ten. And the Big Ten is the Big Ten for a certain reason,” Warren said.
“Which means we will always — to the best of our abilities — do what we feel is the right thing to do. Sometimes that may mean that we’re with a group. Sometimes that may mean that we do things from an independent standpoint. But I will always say that my goal is to make sure that we feel comfortable that we do the right thing and that we remember that we have a responsibility with our brand, with our universities.”
Warren sees things with more of a doorstep view. While he is one of the most powerful men in sports, his first responsibility is to the Big Ten Conference and the student-athletes under his purview. They are working on ways to safely allow the season to happen, and if other conferences aren’t able to get to that point, it doesn’t seem like that would stop the Big Ten from allowing their own student-athletes to have a football season of their own.
“Universities were put in and designed to make sure that we educate our students — all of our students and our student athletes, that we create a healthy and safe environment,” he said. “But we’re working on policies and procedures and protocols and when is the proper time to return to campus. What about how do you decontaminate dorm rooms and classrooms.
“And so we’re working with local, state, and national health officials to make sure that we gather all of the information. The great thing about it, we have unbelievable experts that are on our campuses. And what this has shown is that it’s given them an opportunity to also shine and and that’s why I’m so excited.”
[You can connect with Tony Gerdeman about this article or anything else on your Buckeye mind by joining him at Subtext. Your first 14 days are free and if you follow this link, the first 50 subscribers will get the entire first month free.]