Well, in terms of college football content, we went from zero to a hundred in a matter of minutes when rumors about the Big Ten cancelling its 2020 football season began to make their rounds on Twitter Saturday morning. Since then, it’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride. Allegedly, the Big Ten is finally going to cough up an official announcement after the schools’ presidents meet Monday at 6 p.m. ET, but after about a dozen conflicting reports from anonymous “Big Ten sources,” I don’t know what to believe anymore.
So, just in case you missed it and you’re trying to figure out what the @$%& is happening in college football, I have summed up the last three days via Tweets for you. Keep scrolling to get yourself all caught up (that is until the next “Big Ten source/AD/president-that-shall-not-be-named” comes out with new information.)
First, from around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Tia Johnston and Meredith Hein, LGHL
In this week’s episode of Play Like a Girl, Meredith and I discuss the probability of having a full college football season, and if there is one, how it would work logistically. Now, keep in mind we recorded this on Thursday before all the Big Ten rumors started circulating, so you’ll have to excuse our optimism.
Matt Tamanini, LGHL
If you’re not going to say it, fine. Matt will. Yes, the Big Ten and the NCAA had a long, long time to figure out a foolproof plan for the football season in the midst of COVID-19. And yes, they are to blame partially, but it’s also much bigger than that. Had our president, our governors and our country’s people taken this pandemic seriously (like if they just wore a piece of freaking cloth over their faces, for example) March through June, we’d be four weeks away from watching the Buckeyes play Bowling Green in the ‘Shoe on a beautiful 70-degree day.
Meredith Hein, LGHL
But, none of the above happened, so here we are. It’s now athletes and coaches versus their own conference and school presidents. In Meredith’s column, she explains why we need a college football commissioner now more than ever.
Okay, here’s what’s been happening...
So, this more or less all started when a source told Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports that the possibility of cancelling the fall football season was alive and well within the Big Ten.
Source: Big Ten presidents are meeting today. All options are on the table. There's some presidential momentum for canceling the fall football season. It's unknown if there's enough support to make that decision today.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 8, 2020
Shortly after that, the Big Ten released a statement in which they said and I quote “...until further notice, all institutions will remain in the first two days of the acclimatization period in football (i.e., helmets shall be the only piece of protective equipment student-athletes may wear) as we continue to transition prudently through preseason practice. All other fall sports will continue to work locally with team physicians and athletic trainers to adjust practices to the appropriate level of activity, as necessary, based on current medical protocols.”
So we were all like “PHEW! We’re still on!”
Unnamed sources (see what I mean) told the Detroit Free Press that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is in favor of moving the college football season to the spring.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren reportedly prefers moving the college football season to the spring, though no decision has been made. https://t.co/ReD8K2whac— Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 8, 2020
Which brings us to the conspiracy theory portion of the weekend.
This guy... THIS GUY decided to tweet “BREAKING” news that Ohio State was going to join the Big 12 this season. And people believed him. Keep in mind he has 500 followers and calls himself an “Unaffiliated Sports Reporter” in his bio.
Then, a Power 5 athletic director texted Matt Hayes of Bleacher Report that, actually, the reason the Big Ten is considering cancelling its season is because they are “terrified” of players unionizing and thus ending the concept of amateurism in college football.
Which, for the record, is incredibly possible.
Power 5 AD just texted: “You and your colleagues are chasing the wrong story. The virus alone is enough to stop the season. But presidents are terrified of players organizing. It’s the paradigm shift to change amateur sports.” (1of2)— Matt Hayes (@MattHayesCFB) August 8, 2020
The next day, the rumors started picking up steam when ESPN reported that Power 5 commissioners held an “emergency meeting” on Sunday, in which the Big Ten announced they were ready to throw in the towel.
ESPN reports that the P5 commissioners held an emergency meeting today and the Big Ten is ready to cancel the season, might force other conferences to follow https://t.co/0FrB3asAhv— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) August 9, 2020
They couldn’t get any of the other conferences to follow suit, so they held a meeting of their own. Ohio State President-elect Kristina Johnson was in attendance.
Source tells @TheAthleticCFB that the Big Ten presidents and chancellors are meeting later tonight to discuss the state of the fall sports season. Not clear if anything will come to a vote tonight.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 9, 2020
Here’s where it really started to heat up. Parents, players and coaches from across the college football landscape took to Twitter with statements, pleas, and a new hashtag: #WeWantToPlay.
Ohio State running back Master Teague’s dad tweeted out the “Football Parents Association Official Statement,” in which they state that Ohio State has “set the standard” for college football in regards to safety and testing protocols.
Then, the P5 players unionized, and some of college football’s most prominent figures stated their case, making it very clear that they aren’t going down without a fight.
Not to mention the players coming from situations that are not good for them/ their future and having to go back to that. Football is a safe haven for so many people. We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football. Having a season also incentivizes -— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 9, 2020
Swinging as hard as we possibly can right now for these players!! This isn’t over! #FIGHT— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) August 10, 2020
Looking back at all the work I’ve put in through the years and seeing my senior year gone to injury and now seeing all of this stuff going on. Man I want a season to show everyone the player I am and have the senior year I earned and worked for.— Jonathon Cooper (@JonathonCooper7) August 10, 2020
I love our players & believe it is my responsibility to help them chase their dreams, both collectively & individually. I am willing to fight WITH them & for our program!#WeAre— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) August 10, 2020
Here is a statement from Jim Harbaugh for why he wants a season. pic.twitter.com/JHoxV42BCs— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) August 10, 2020
Former LSU quarterback Joey Burrow offered an incredibly good point.
I feel for all college athletes right now. I hope their voices are heard by the decision makers. If this happened a year ago I may be looking for a job right now.— Joey Burrow (@JoeyB) August 10, 2020
However, so did former Ohio State running back Mike Weber...
I mean I lost two family members to COVID and I don’t want no one Else to experience that . As much as I love football . I can see why they cancelled . People have died and still dying from this virus . Lives are more important than football.— Mike Weber (@mikeweberjr) August 10, 2020
Oh, and there’s been a lot of hypotheticals and proposed solutions circulating the Twitter-sphere. These are two of my personal favorites:
If football is canceled, I think that Ohio State and Clemson should just play one massive pay-per-view exhibition game and split the money like a big boxing match.— Kevin Harrish (@Kevinish) August 10, 2020
Given the reaction of the Michigan and Ohio State players and coaches, it feels like we’re creeping toward Harbaugh and Day having their guys meet on a high school football field in Toledo.— Doug Lesmerises (@DougLesmerises) August 10, 2020
Name the time and place.
On Monday morning, Dan Dakich of 107.5 The Fan reported that he heard the Big Ten voted 12-2 to not have a season. In other words, the season was done. This tweet sparked most of the players’ and coaches’ statements listed above
Dan says that he heard Big Ten voted 12-2 not to have a season last night. Nebraska and Iowa wanted to play.— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) August 10, 2020
If they really did vote against having a season on Sunday night, why on earth did they let players report to practice on Monday morning, where they’re just increasing their exposure of COVID-19 (if that’s really what the conference is so worried about)? And why are they taking a cold turkey approach? At the very least. can’t they just delay the season until they’ve come up with a plan they’re comfortable with?
If the decision has already been made, sending Big Ten players back out to deal with testing before practicing again on Monday borders on cruelty.— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) August 10, 2020
What happened to flexibility? Why did the schedule come out? B1G is embarrassing itself with mixed messages. https://t.co/UEnhkpoleJ
More conspiracies! Supposedly the SEC wants to absorb any team that wants to play.
Dan Patrick saying the SEC is trying to buy time. They are reaching out to schools who want to play to join them for 1 year for a super conference. The SEC office is trying to negotiate an exclusive TV deal for this.— jbook™ (@jbook37) August 10, 2020
Which, as fun as that sounds, will not happen. However, many coaches were on board, including Ohio State WR coach Brian Hartline and Nebraska head coach Scott Frost.
Our players deserve the opportunity to choose whether they play or don’t play. We will play anyone, anywhere. We don’t care who it is.#WeWantASeason— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) August 10, 2020
Frost: "I think our university is committed to playing football any way that we possibly can regardless of what anyone else does." If Nebraska can't play in the Big Ten, he says, they're prepared to look at different options.— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) August 10, 2020
Unfortunately, I don’t think the coaches have much of a say in this decision.
And you KNOW some hilarious memes were made during all of this chaos:
The Big 10: We want to cancel our season, and everyone else should too. pic.twitter.com/EV6Z3vsgsm— Front Porch Football (@frontporchfbll) August 10, 2020
The Big Ten has become a laughing stock. As you will see here, when Big Ten officials began to backtrack.
Big Ten spokesman says "no vote has been held by our presidents and chancellors."— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 10, 2020
Apparently, the “12-2” vote was taken out of context, and “no final decisions have been made,” despite the 40 other reports from “Big Ten sources” that say otherwise. So, they’re having another meeting tonight where they WILL make their final decision.
The Big Ten's presidents are scheduled to meet again on a call at 6 o'clock ET tonight, when they'll make the final decision on the football season, per source.— Graham Couch (@Graham_Couch) August 10, 2020
As our Gene Ross said in our Slack channel, it’s like they dabbled with the idea of cancelling the season, and then logged on to Twitter like:
Okay, I think you’re all caught up. Stay tuned for more “per source” reports after the conference meets! For the fourth time!