Big Ten Made The Right Call Bringing College Football Back
Big Ten will be playing football this fall. Yes, we will get Big Ten action for eight weeks then a ninth for the championship game. Big Ten reversed course after a month ago they said ‘There is no way we’re coming back and this decision is final.’ But then the availability of rapid testing came available, and that seemed to change the discussion for the conference. Also, they were receiving pressure from the most successful program, Ohio State, and many parents across the Big Ten landscape. Regardless of the egg that is on Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren’s face, they made the right call to bring college football back this season.
It is pretty clear that the Big Ten overreacted in July. They did not want to face the harsh realities of trying to figure everything out and make everyone happy. Warren, being a new commish, was over his skis on this one. Part of me wonders what Jim Delaney would have done. He had his own faults, but the experience is there to navigate through tough times. Warren picked up his ball and went home without getting opinions from all different types of stakeholders. They could have started in mid-October without all the dramatics and bad PR moves over the last two months.
There is the commentary that the Big Ten expected all these conferences to follow their lead. Similar to what happened with college basketball. That didn’t happen. Instead those schools started to work out different plans on paper. The SEC, Big 12, and ACC all have experienced commissioners and it showed. Big Ten overplayed its hand. In a hacky piece, a journalist called the move ‘The Big Ten’s SEC decision.’ But for me, it was the conference admitting that they’re not this powerful beast that they once were. They move the needle, sure, but college football moved on without them. That had to bother the Big Ten. Combine that with the rapid testing, that’s how you have football.
Even though COVID is running through some of these campuses, they can create a controlled environment (Buzz word of the week) with their team. Make sure that there is a bubble of sorts through the next five weeks. All eyes will be on the Big Ten, and let’s hope everything runs smoothly starting on Friday, October 23rd.