T-Row and Joe: Power 5 Decision-Makers Were  'Surprised' by Big Ten's Rogue Announcement

John. E. Hoover

Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said Friday he was “surprised” by the Big Ten Conference’s decision Thursday to cancel all non-conference football games.

“Surprised? Yes,” Castiglione said. “Because to this point, we have been working with all the conferences to make decisions that are consistent with each other.”

Castiglione spoke with OU play-by-play voice and sports talk radio host Toby Rowland on Friday morning during their regular segment on SportsTalk 1400 KREF.

Castiglione said conference have worked well together to make decisions during the Coronavirus pandemic, and those decisions “may vary a little. But we’ve been talking through this many times a week. Commissioners talk virtually every day. And I think all of that’s been healthy.

“But I was surprised to see them go out and make that decision separate from the rest of the group. It’s something I’m trying to unpack at the moment. Not so much the surprise, but what gains are made by making a decision right now? If you want to subscribe to the doomsday theory, I get it. If you think that’s the only path forward and that’s the people you represent, I get it. But we’ve gone this far. … ”

Castiglione said OU will always make decisions based on the best interests of student-athletes, and said it seemed premature to be doing that in July for something that isn’t scheduled to happen until September.

“If we were to argue three weeks ago, four weeks ago that people may have been too optimistic, we understand what may have changed these past 3-4 weeks, I realize that it’s created a lot more pessimism and concern, as it should,” he said. “We’ve seen surges all over the country. Maybe people got too lax and too undisciplined in dealing with the spread of the virus and it’s caused all the problems. Just speculation on my part.

“Three or four weeks from now, it may be a different story, it may not. This is still a very fluid situation. Things are changing all the time. But it’s still not guaranteed that we’ll get the season off on time, if at all. But we’ve gone this far, and I think making decisions in concert together was still the best move. Now, what happens from this point forward remains to be seen.”

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