Happy Monday, LGHL reader! Last week was a doozy, eh? Hopefully this week contains better news, which shouldn’t be too hard considering last week’s news was: “FOOTBALL IS CANCELED AND WE HAVE NO IDEA WHY.”
So yeah, it can really only go up from here. In fact, quite a bit has happened since our last Buckeye Bits publication. Here’s a quick sneak peak of today’s updates:
- If anyone saves the Big Ten’s college football season, it’ll be Justin Fields.
- The Big Ten...may have not even held a formal vote to postpone the season??????
- We have not heard a peep from the Big Ten, despite parents, players and coaches demanding answers
The saga continues. Without further ado, here’s what’s happening...
Around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Meredith Hein, LGHL
We live in a world where everyone seems to think they know everything about everything. Throw in a global health pandemic (where protecting others has become a political stance) and a canceled football season, and all of the self-proclaimed “experts” will begin to crawl out of the woodworks. In her column this week, Meredith explains what an expert actually is, and let’s just say, unless you’re an epidemiologist, I promise you that you have absolutely no idea whether or not its safe to play football this fall.
Jim Baird, LGHL
Next up in our 24 Club series is the legendary Earl Bruce, the man who was given one of the most challenging tasks in Ohio State coaching history: replacing Woody Hayes.
Charles Doss, LGHL
Charles caught up with three-star class of 2022 tight end Bennett Christian, who tweeted on Sunday that he will be announcing his decision on Sept. 1.
From around the gridiron...
Kevin Harrish, Eleven Warriors
Justin Fields does not have to play a single snap this season to improve his draft stock. He will be a top-five pick in the 2021 NFL Draft no matter what. In fact, it would make more sense for Fields to opt out.
And YET, Fields has done more in regards to bringing back the college football season and demanding answers from the Big Ten than any athletic director, president or head coach. On Sunday, Fields released a petition addressed to the Big Ten titled “#WeWantToPlay.”
This cause is close to my heart - please sign: https://t.co/yFKlYE7pP0— Justin Fields (@justnfields) August 16, 2020
Here’s what he’s asking:
“We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penalty or repercussion.”
The petition, as of Monday at 4 p.m., has received 248,582 signatures, with the latest goal being 300,000. While many of the sports’ top players are beginning to opt out, like Penn State’s Micah Parsons and, most recently, LSU’s Kary Vincent Jr., Fields is fighting to play his final college season.
Fields guested on an ESPN radio show Monday morning, on which he was asked why he is fighting for a season, considering he, like Kevin said, “is months away from becoming a millionaire.”
“Really, it’s just my love for the game and college football and my teammates and for Ohio State,” Fields replied. “I’ve seen guys battle back from injuries. I’ve seen how hard our coaches have fought for us to play. It is really just my love for the game.”
I mean, no matter what conference you’re in or what team you’re a fan of, you have to respect the hell out of this kid. Like Ryan Day said:
I could not be more proud of Justin Fields and I support his efforts. He loves Ohio State. He loves his teammates. We ask our players to be leaders and he’s leading. I’m honored to coach him and this team. #FIGHT.— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) August 17, 2020
However, I think Kevin said it best:
“If he goes out, he’s going to go out swinging. And while that’s not the same as a national title, a Heisman Trophy or a 100-spot on Michigan, it’s still a damn fine legacy to leave.”
Johnny Ginter and Dan Hope, Eleven Warriors
Fields isn’t the only one knocking on the Big Ten’s door. The parents of Ohio State football players wrote a letter to Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren on Saturday, saying:
“We believe that the August 11th decision was made in haste. As we have continued to learn nationally about COVID-19, our understanding and protocols in dealing with this virus have also continued to evolve. In the best interests of our players, we strongly believe that the Big Ten should re-evaluate its decision.”
Among other asks, they also requested a reinstatement of the schedule released on Aug. 5, full transparency regarding the data used to reach their decision, a Zoom meeting with Warren, a detailed action plan including standard practices and safety protocols for all teams, and a response by Wednesday.
The Big Ten has also received letters from the parents of Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State and, most recently, Michigan, all demanding the same thing: Bring back the fall football season.
“As football players, they understand risk. As young men, they understand the consequences of their decisions. ... our boys participating in Michigan football this fall is the best possible environment during these uncertain times” — Michigan parents in letter re: Big Ten https://t.co/jJtI0v0Mpz— angelique (@chengelis) August 17, 2020
After a petition signed by 250,000 and letters from the parents of your five most prominent schools, you’d think someone ANYONE from the Big Ten would make some sort of statement.
Any word from the Big Ten, on anything? pic.twitter.com/jAWsfSuNxz— Kevin Noon (@Kevin_Noon) August 17, 2020
You can do what the Pac-12 did...clearly release your rationale for making a decision, own that decision, and appear united in that decision...or you can do whatever it is Big Ten institutions seem to be doing.— Matt Brown (@MattBrownEP) August 17, 2020
The Big Ten’s approach of ghosting all of its football players, coaches, and parents is a weird flex but okay.
Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com
The GOAT Doug Lesmerises talked to people on ALL sides of this sh*t show to find out why this is happening, how we got here and where we’re probably headed. It really is important to remember that, despite what the players and parents want, this is all about keeping players safe and the Big Ten (supposedly) had its reasons. We just... haven’t heard what they are yet.
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour isn’t confident that the B1G will reverse decision.
Penn State AD Sandy Barbour on whether the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall sports could be reversed:— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) August 17, 2020
Chancellors & presidents made decision based on science and recommendation of medical experts.
"I don't see that changing."
Because if the decision really was based on information from medical professionals deeming it too dangerous to play football this fall, the Big Ten can’t go back on that, no matter how badly players, coaches and parents want to play.
Barbour also said that it’s still “unclear” whether the Big Ten even held a formal vote.
PSU AD Sandy Barbour said it remains unclear to her whether there was actually a formal vote or not by the Big Ten presidents and chancellors.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 17, 2020
Look, we’re trying to stay somewhat neutral here. Obviously we want a college football season, but not if it costs the players and coaches their health— whether that be presently or in the long run. However, the Big Ten is making it incredibly hard to trust them and to have faith in their decision. And their silence is pretty deafening at this point.
“You don’t have to reinstate the season if there was no vote to cancel the season in the first place." pic.twitter.com/WEpzBmTcnN— Andrew Lind (@AndrewMLind) August 17, 2020
Contrary to what these photos are saying, Gee Scott Jr. is only a freshman.
RIP opposing defenses.
From around the hardwood...
College basketball answers coming mid-September
They’ve been discussing the 2021 college basketball season since March, and things are looking promising thus far. Here’s what Jardy wrote:
Having watched the success of The Basketball Tournament in Columbus and then the NBA and WNBA, in addition to the struggles of major league baseball and college football, the conversations that have been ongoing since March are pointing toward the 2020-21 season being held in “bubbles.”
“If we have to do a bubble model and that’s the only way we can do it, then we’ll figure it out,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said Thursday.
All they have to do is learn from football’s mistakes and basically just do whatever the NBA is doing.
From everywhere else...
The Canadian Football League’s 2020 season has been cancelled.
Meanwhile in America...
Ron Rivera diversifying the Washington Football Team. We love to see it.
First minority coach in franchise history. First black woman as a full-time coach in the league. First woman on an NFL radio broadcast team. Now, first black team president. Ron Rivera has come in and helped not only change the culture but diverse it, too. https://t.co/MOCN15oLMT— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) August 17, 2020
Friendly reminder! Some of you forget this!
Please understand that you, the average citizen, absolutely CANNOT score a basket in an NBA game, hit a home run off a major league pitcher, score a touchdown against an NFL defense, or score a goal against an NHL goalie. In most instances, you're much more likely to get injured.— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_J_Tweets) August 17, 2020