The Big Ten has officially postponed its football season to the spring, but parents of players are pushing the conference to reconsider.
After the Big Ten announced the postponement earlier in the week, parents of the Iowa and Ohio State football teams spoke out against the decision and asked the league for a meeting with commissioner Kevin Warren to “get direct answers and to have a say in the decision-making process.” In short, they want to know how the conference went from releasing a schedule on Aug. 5 to postponing the entire season just six days later on Aug. 11.
“The Big Ten had months to develop a strategic plan but instead chose to leave it up to each individual school creating confusion, inconsistency and no plan of action,” the letter from Iowa parents stated. “There is time to fix the wrongdoings and come out as leaders. We strongly encourage the Big Ten to reconsider playing the fall college football season, develop a plan of meaningful action and letting these young adults be included in the decision-making process.”
Following the reports of Iowa and Ohio State parents speaking out, Sean Callahan of HuskerOnline.com broke the news that parents of the Nebraska football team are also drafting a letter to sent to the league’s commissioner.
I can confirm the parents of the Nebraska football team are also drafting a letter to send to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.
Both the parents of Iowa and Ohio State players have already sent letters to the Big Ten this week. #Huskers
— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 15, 2020
In a feature published by Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated, the following parents – among others – spoke out against the abrupt decision:
- Pablo Fields, father of Ohio State star quarterback Justin Fields
- Amanda Babb, stepmom of Ohio State player Kamryn Babb
- Dianne Freiermuth, mother of Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth
- Tim Ford, father of Illinois tight end Luke Ford
- Maurice Goodson, father of Iowa running back Tyler Goodson
“I felt like the season was pulled out from under them before they got a chance,” said Babb, who is also the head of OSU’s parents association. “They were told by their coaches, ‘We have to follow these safety protocols to have a season,’ and they did. Then it didn’t even matter.”
“The decision just came too quick,” said Freiermuth, who is also the presiident of the Penn State parents organization. “I totally believe in medical experts and think we should be listening to them—if the right thing to do medically is not to play, I’m fine with that. But to go from releasing the schedule to the start of practice to stopping the season, without explanation, is just wrong.”
What could this all mean? According to Forde, college sports attorney Tom Mars said that “several Big Ten players’ parents asked for help” in trying to find a way to play immediately.
As a result, the high-profile attorney produced a two-page document entitled, “Action Plan to Mitigate Concerns and Legal Risks of Playing Fall 2020 Football,” which was given to at least two Big Ten head coaches. From there, the hope is that players, parents, athletic directors, and head coaches, among others, “unite behind a petition to the NCAA to rescind its ban on liability waivers.”
Will the parents’ efforts amount to a change of heart from the Big Ten? That remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, they want answers, and they want them soon.
For more on the pushback from parents, read Forde’s entire piece here.