I know I probably sound like a broken record when I say that the silence we’ve received from the Big Ten is astonishing. A monumental decision such as canceling a Power 5 conference’s fall football season— a conference that includes the projected national champions, might I add— should have been met with data, blueprints, graphs, pie charts, excel sheets, several press conferences, and a return-to-play Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
Instead, the Big Ten backed their decision up with a short, vague press release, and threw in a “Football in the spring! Maybe!” for good measure. Even after the protests, petitions, lawsuits, rumors and countless number of pleas from players, coaches and families, the conference remains silent. Zero transparency. Zero questions answered. Zero plans in place.
Now, we’re just days away from the ACC and the Big 12 kicking off their seasons, and if they and the SEC continue to proceed successfully— WITH FANS IN THE STANDS AT THAT— the Big Ten can kiss their respectability goodbye.
People can't even get the Big Ten commissioner to answer an email, but down in LSU they're allowing 25K in for their game in 2 weeks. https://t.co/rKo9J6C740— jbook™ (@jbook37) September 9, 2020
I will say that I don’t necessarily agree with fans attending games. I don’t even know how I feel about football being played at all (yeah I said it). But I do know that Big Ten athletes deserved better, and watching college football on Saturday sans Ohio State is going to hurt like hell.
Now, on to today’s headlines.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Gene Ross, LGHL
Recruiting. We’ll always have recruiting.
The Big Ten has allegedly agreed to use the NBA saliva test, the NFL is killing it in terms of COVID-19 testing results, and the Sooners are being super shady— Gene has all of that and more in yesterday’s Bits.
From around the gridiron...
Gene said it in the intro of yesterday’s Bits. I said it in my intro. Austin Ward of Lettermen Row is saying it. And I’m pretty sure I came across 25 tweets just this morning that said it.
Give. Us. A. Plan.
As Austin points out, the conference owes it to the players, first and foremost, who have been training for months on end and who are currently training for a season that doesn’t exist. Presidents and chancellors, if you’re considering an Oct. 10 start date, tell the players its a possibility. If its not and you’re leaning more toward a January season, tell. the. players. Why are you letting fake reporters and “sources” control the narrative?
Pick a plan, Big Ten.— Austin Ward (@AWardSports) September 9, 2020
No matter what the presidents and chancellors decide, they owe a plan to the players who are training with no idea when they might actually get to play again. It's time to vote and get to work on the next step, whatever it is. https://t.co/nDiqBs02GG
“The Big Ten can’t afford to drag its feet any longer. Just about half of the league is already in support of playing next month, and there really only appears to be one major domino left that needs to fall. If it doesn’t, there are going to be some repercussions for the league on the field potentially for years to come. But if that’s the way the vote falls, so be it — at least the players, coaches and families will have the information available to them to make any decision about the future that suits their interests.”
The longer the Big Ten withholds information from players, the longer players’ futures remain in the balance. Some guys— like Justin Fields and Shaun Wade who are both projected to go top-10 in the 2021 NFL Draft— are waiting for a decision to be made before they opt out. If the rumors are true and the Big Ten decides to play football in October as CFP contenders, the duo will stay. But until thats confirmed, they’re left hanging around the Woody Hayes facility for potentially no reason when they could be elsewhere preparing for their rookie seasons.
Fields and Wade are arguably the least effected by the Big Ten’s incompetence, however, considering their two options are 1.) stay and play for a national title or 2.) opt out and go top-10 in the Draft. At the end of the day, their football futures are bright. But what about the players whose NFL careers are quite literally dependent on their performance this season? There are players who still have a lot to prove, and who are uncertain whether or not they should declare for the draft without playing one more year of college football.
Colin Hass-Hill of Eleven Warriors took a look at how one more season at Ohio State would help said players’ draft stocks.
Plenty of Buckeyes are relying on the upcoming season to boost their NFL draft stocks even though Justin Fields, Shaun Wade and a few others are already secure with theirs. https://t.co/ljb7o0Mhaw— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 9, 2020
I’m leaving this here. Believe it. Don’t believe it. I don’t care anymore.
Just learned re: timing of the B1G vote ... will be this weekend “at the earliest” ... Sun or Mon possible https://t.co/HBZmxYmhF7— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) September 9, 2020
One can only dream of having Kerry Coombs-energy. Happy Birthday to the GOAT.
Wishing a happy birthday to Ohio's sentient can of Red Bull. pic.twitter.com/C6vxBcjaRK— Eleven Warriors (@11W) September 9, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Led by Duke head coach Mike Krzyewski, the ACC men’s basketball coaches plan to propose an all-inclusive 2021 NCAA Tournament that will include every single Division I team.
BREAKING: The ACC coaches will propose an all-inclusive NCAA tournament, sources told @stadium. The coaches just finished the call and voted unanimously on this.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 9, 2020
Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is!
NCAA-connected source on expanding the NCAA Tournament: "Nope. I can’t see it being a thing. We’re all hemorrhaging money and we’re going to pay for 300 MORE teams (just on the men’s side?) to play? There’s no path for the finances to work and nobody to subsidize it."— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) September 9, 2020
To be clear, at this stage, based on myriad conversations I’ve had with people in the past month-plus: the NCAA’s preference is still to have an 68-team tournament in mid-March like it always has.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) September 9, 2020
You would think that the decision makers for college basketball, who have had substantially more time than any other sport to figure things out, would have some sort of plan in place.
You would think.
The most common two words I continue to hear from coaches and AD's involving college basketball right now:— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 9, 2020
From everywhere else...
Former Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier officially retired from the NFL. He will no longer attempt to make a comeback and will instead “step away from the game for awhile and see what else life has to offer.” Well-deserved and, frankly, a relief.
In his final NFL game on Dec. 4, 2017, the Steelers linebacker endured a horrifying spinal injury while making a tackle. Unsure if he’d ever be healthy enough to play football again, the Steelers put him on the reserve/retired list earlier this season in an administrative move that kept him a member of the organization.
Shazier will forever be known as one of the best linebackers in the NFL and at Ohio State, where he earned first-team All-American honors in his final season as a Buckeye in 2013.
Former Buckeyes Joe Burrow and Vonn Bell have been named 2020 captains of the Cincinnati Bengals.
And Dwayne Haskins has been named a 2020 captain for the Washington Football Team.
The leaders for the 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ seasonhttps://t.co/4AEb5hf9Vu— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 9, 2020
Didn’t the NCAA already establish, like, four of these?
Members of this committee include Dr. Leon McDougle, who is chief diversity officer and a professor of family medicine at the Wexner Medical Center, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at The Ohio State University and president-elect of the National Medical Association. https://t.co/FuUwIXs0MW— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) September 9, 2020
I—and I can’t stress this enough—hate it here.
Places around the world that used masks consistently have had half to two-thirds less Covid spread. Imagine how many deaths could have been prevented in the US if the federal government had focused on masks rather than hydroxychloroquine.— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrTomFrieden) September 8, 2020