There has been extremely little reason to publicly believe that Ohio State will play football this fall after last week's news that the Big Ten postponed the season. Athletic Director Gene Smith announced there was no chance the team could play outside the Big Ten (even for just one season) and Coach Day said the team is turning its attention towards developing a schedule for the winter/spring.
But according to one report, perhaps all hope isn't lost quite yet.
Longtime college football writer Jeff Snook has covered Ohio State for many years and is a Buckeye grad. Snook is retired and no longer works for an official publication, but is known to be well-connected in the Ohio State community. He posted on his Facebook page last night that, according to his sources, Smith and the Buckeyes still hope for a 10-game season in 2020 and are trying to convince five other Big Ten programs to join in this mini-season.
Here is an excerpt from his report:
No matter what has been stated publicly, Ohio State’s hierarchy hasn’t yet given up on playing football this fall.
Athletic Director Gene Smith, with the full support of school president-elect Kristina Johnson, has been working behind the scenes for the past six days to organize fellow Big Ten conference athletic directors in convincing at least five other university presidents to move forward with a 10-game season to be played among six teams, a source familiar with the movement told me today.
In this proposed format, each team would play the other five Big Ten teams who are participating twice -- once at home and once on the road, beginning on either Sept. 26 or Oct. 3. The season would conclude by mid-December and there would no Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.
As of Tuesday night, the source claimed that Penn State President Eric Barron, Nebraska President Walter “Ted” Carter and Iowa President Bruce Harreld are on board with the new plan. The group hopes to convince two other universities, notably the University of Wisconsin and the University of Michigan, to join them.
“They really need to flip Wisconsin and Michigan to get to six schools and make this thing work,” the source said. “And they have only so much time to do it. They need to make progress and get it done in the next seven to 10 days.”
This plan seems extremely unlikely without the support of the university presidents at each of the school that are trying to pull this off. But coaches and AD's at each of the schools mentioned here have all publicly said they are willing to explore all options around playing football this fall.
Snook previously reported that no official vote took place among the Big Ten presidents. If that's true, it's understandable why there would be a serious disconnect growing between some members of the league. Perhaps it gives more credibility to the #WeWantToPlay movement spearheaded by Justin Fields and the Big Ten parents protest planned for Friday.
If this reported plan were to manifest itself, it would need to come together quickly. Teams have not been practicing in full pads for more than a week.
Meanwhile, commissioner Kevin Warren spoke with Sports Business Journal on Wednesday afternoon. It was his first public appearance since a series of interviews when the conference announced last week's postponement. Warren said in an open letter to Big Ten fans late Wednesday afternoon that the league is continuing to look at winter and spring options to reschedule the season.