The Big Ten conference has been criticized due to its lack of transparency surrounding its decision to cancel the college football season, among other fall sports.
What led them to their decision? Was there a vote or not? If so, what information or medical advice was given? Big Ten parents and players are asking for more.
League commissioner Kevin Warren confirmed a vote took place; however, Michigan State president Samuel L. Stanley said it was "more of a consensus than a vote."
Again, it's all very confusing, and more often than not, there are differing answers.
On August 17, Penn State's athletic director Sandy Barbour told reporters she didn't know if there was a vote or not.
How does that happen?
Warren responded to a lot of criticism by writing an open letter to the conference community, saying, "We thoroughly understand and deeply value what sports mean to our student-athletes, their families, our coaches, and our fans. The vote by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) was overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited. The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance, and advice from medical experts."
Although parents who protested outside of league headquarters last Friday didn't think it was sufficient – the consensus being not enough information was provided about what prompted the postponement.
Nebraska football players' parents wrote a letter to Warren through attorney Michael Flood, demanding the league release specific details about the decision to cancel/postpone football.
If the league failed to comply, a lawsuit would follow.
"The correspondence is intended to convey the total lack of confidence in the Big Ten Conference's leadership, specifically the lack of planning, collaboration, and/or communication," said Big 10 Parents United.
Eight Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten on Thursday to invalidate the decision to postpone the fall sports season and award damages.
The suit alleges the conference is in a breach of contract, and unsurprisingly the players are calling the vote in to question citing statements from Stanley and Minnesota president Joan Gabel – disputing whether a legitimate vote occurred or not.
Flood, the players' attorney, said, "Over a week ago my office sent a letter to commissioner Kevin Warren of the Big Ten conference asking for transparency. On behalf of eleven University of Nebraska families that I represented initially; they were having a very hard time understanding why the Big Ten conference suddenly reversed itself from six days prior when they had put out the fall schedule."
A statement was released by the Big Ten saying, "This lawsuit has no merit, and we will defend the decision to protect all student-athletes as we navigate through this global pandemic."
While other Power 5 conferences plan on kicking off in September, the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their seasons – did they cancel too early?
The Big Ten muffed the punt when it came to having an open line of communication, being transparent, and revealing what led them to their decision. But it remains to be seen if the decision itself was the wrong one.
Earlier today, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde reported a source told him the Big Ten is discussing different football scheduling options, "but reversing course and playing now is 'wishful thinking' on the part of some coaches and unlikely."
Per Jeff Potrykus, a Thanksgiving start time is possible, but winter is more likely.
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