On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Big Ten decided to cancel the fall college football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic following a vote by the conference’s presidents and chancellors. That monumental decision, which sent shockwaves through the Midwest and the rest of the CFB world as a whole, occurred exactly four weeks ago today. Just what has the B1G done in the wake of such a massive announcement to set a plan forward for its member institutions to safely return to the field?
Nearly an entire month has gone by since the Big Ten upended its entire fall season — a decision, I might add, that came just five days after the conference released its brand new scheduled filled with contingency plans and open make-up dates — and yet we still sit here with more questions than answers. There have been pleas, petitions, protests and even lawsuits looking for something of substance from the Big Ten for weeks now, and still it has been crickets from Kevin Warren and the rest of the powers that be.
It is one thing to take the health and safety of your athletes into account if you indeed don't believe it is truly safe to play, but the only factors the B1G has been able to come up with thus far has been a vague point to “the data.” Should any college football teams be playing right now? No, probably not. But when three of the Power 5 conferences are moving forward with their schedules as planned, you have to be able to point to a concrete reason why it is safe for them to play and not your own conference.
On top of that, if you are going to cancel an entire college football season just weeks out from the scheduled opener, you must have a plan for returning to the field ready to go — and quickly. Whether that is later in the fall, the winter or the spring, you have to give these athletes that spent an entire offseason training something tangible to hold onto. You shouldn’t leave these players in limbo for a month just because you showed absolutely zero forward thinking.
The heat is on now. College football games have taken place — successfully thus far, at that. The Big Ten’s hasty decision to cancel looks worse and worse each day, and with the ACC and Big 12 set to kickoff this weekend, it seems like an incredibly important week for an announcement to be made. Whether that is a late fall season or a concrete plan for the winter, a failure to speak up this week could be catastrophic for the B1G.
With that rant out of the way, let’s get to today’s headlines.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Ohio State offers 2022 four-star safety
(Dan Hessler, LGHL)
While he still hasn’t gotten any answers in regards to when his team will take the field next, the beat goes on for Ryan Day on the recruiting trail. On Monday, Ohio State offered the nation’s No. 9 safety in the 2022 class — a player that just so happens to live in Big Ten country.
24 Club: Jim Tressel, The Great Bane of the Wolverines
(Jim Baird, LGHL)
We are nearing the end of 24 Club, a series that has taken a look at every head coach in Ohio State football history, as we have arrived at Jim Tressel. Known for more than his defense-first approach to the game and his affinity for the sweater vest, Tressel put together one of the program’s best-ever records against Michigan, finishing his career with a 9-1 mark against the Wolverines.
From around the gridiron...
If we’ve learned anything over the past few months, it’s that literally any issue in society can be made political in the blink of an eye. That has become the case with the Big Ten season, as after the President of the United States himself a week ago tweeted in support of the conference playing football this year, today a group of Midwest political leaders wrote a letter to Kevin Warren asking him to reconsider the league’s decision.
While it is unlikely that this group of politicians will directly impact the ongoing dumpster fire that is the Big Ten’s handling of the current situation, it is just more fuel to the fire and another entity applying pressure to the conference to make a decision.
Ohio State’s NFL draftees look pretty good on the virtual gridiron, but they’ll hope to look even better on the real field this weekend as the NFL season begins. None of the Buckeyes’ 2020 NFL Draft selections are playing in Thursday night’s opener between the Chiefs and Texans, and so we will have to wait until Sunday to see them in action.
Who’s ready for the rooks ⁉️ These 9️⃣ Buckeyes take the field in the League starting Thursday @youngchase907@jeffokudah@damon_arnette@Jkdobbins22@dmhamilton53@jonahjackson73@Leek_39@j_fuller4@KayJayHill#DevelopedHere #GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/mkLZYByM8X— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) September 8, 2020
There’s a bunch of reasons Ohio State keeps beating up on Michigan, but one factor is preparation. Listen to two Buckeye greats in Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller break the 2012 matchup against the Wolverines and what The Game means in Columbus.
“That’s one you can’t lose. I really believe the other 11 don’t matter if you lose that game... Every day we work on that game.”@OhioStateFB’s @CoachUrbanMeyer and @BraxtonMiller5 break down what it meant to face Michigan in 2012 pic.twitter.com/mNCMGOP8sj— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 8, 2020
Take this report with a grain of salt if you will, as seemingly everyone on social media with “trusted sources” has been wrong nearly 100 percent of the time, but this is an encouraging development if it is indeed the case. If you can get accurate, rapid testing before a college football game, there is no reason that games cannot take place. If Ohio State and the rest of the Big Ten have any hopes of playing this fall, it will come down to testing capabilities.
Game-changer for the Buckeyes, Wolverines and Co? Per a trusted source, the @bigten today agreed to use NBA saliva test and plan to have every school testing by mid-October.— Billy Liucci (@billyliucci) September 8, 2020
I’m a little upset they beat me to an Oklahoma defense joke here, but on a serious note this seems incredibly problematic. Sure, there is no need to detail which individual players have COVID-19 if the team comes down with an outbreak, but as an opposing coach I'd certainly like to know your team is dealing with an outbreak in the first place before I send my guys out there. Last time I checked, pulled hamstrings aren’t contagious.
Oklahoma has long been suspect in its decision making versus the spread https://t.co/Vq85ehxb1u— The Solid Verbal (@SolidVerbal) September 8, 2020
From around the hardwood...
This year’s Battle 4 Atlantis, which Ohio State is scheduled to compete in, could become the Battle 4 South Dakota instead. With the obvious concerns about leaving the country during a pandemic, an alternate site for the tourney is currently being discussed. The field is one of the strongest early tournaments in college basketball this season, including Duke, Creighton, West Virginia, Memphis, Wichita State, Utah and Texas A&M in addition to the Buckeyes.
Hoops scheduling nugget: The Battle 4 Atlantis tournament is not expected to be played in the Bahamas this year, sources tell @CBSSports. The initial preferred destination for tournament organizers is the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D. Other cities are still under consideration.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) September 8, 2020
From everywhere else...
Newly minted Ohio State President Kristina Johnson has had perhaps one of the toughest beginnings to a college presidency you could ask for, both dealing with students returning to campus during a pandemic and the whole Big Ten football fiasco, but she has seemingly been taking things in stride. She has empathized with the Buckeyes’ athletes over the conference’s decision to cancel, and it is worth noting that she was one of just three presidents in the B1G to vote ‘no’ to the cancellation.
It was an honor to host our new president @PresKMJohnson at practice this morning.— Ohio State Field Hockey (@OhioStateFH) September 8, 2020
Thank you for taking time out of your schedule and for your words of encouragement.#GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/BHmPaKWBH6
A Reddit user has once again fired up his College Football Empires Map for the 2020 season, which gives teams claim to US lands after defeating the team that laid claim to that region previously. But what would happen if the Big Ten — which isn’t presently included in the map — were to resume play? His answer is funny, but also painfully accurate. Profit.
The map's creator has clarified his approach if anything changes for the Big Ten: pic.twitter.com/d0tJz8yIuE— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 8, 2020
I guess you could say those who would attend a Smash Mouth concert during a pandemic, “ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed.” (You see what I did there?)
Sturgis motorcycle rally capped with a concert by @smashmouth may have been responsible for 267,000 coronavirus infections, according to a San Diego State University study which used cell phone tracking data. https://t.co/pQp6XNPRNF— Anthony DeRosa (@Anthony) September 8, 2020
Finally, there was some incredibly encouraging testing results out of the NFL today. According to the league, out of 44,510 tests administered to 8,349 players and team personnel, there was just one new positive among players and seven among other personnel. It will be interesting to see how the numbers look after games begin, but those are some phenomenal early results.