Nebraska Football Parents Push for Big Ten to Play 2020 Season in Open Letter

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2020

Nebraska linebacker Collin Miller (31) celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumble from Maryland running back Javon Leake (20) during a kick return in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Will Newton)
Will Newton/Associated Press

The family members of Nebraska football players issued an open letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren after the conference postponed all fall sports for the 2020-21 school year.

The parents wrote they wanted to "express our displeasure" about the decision. They're also requesting more transparency regarding why the Big Ten went ahead with the cancellation.

"We do not want to make light of the seriousness of this terrible disease, but it is not going away," the letter read. "Our sons are willing to assume this risk and commit to mitigating risks this fall."

Nebraska Cornhusker Football Parents @ParentsNebraska

An open letter to @bigten Commissioner Kevin Warren on behalf of 81 Nebraska Cornhusker football families. #LetThemPlay #GBR https://t.co/eAWnwsiE4r

Before the Big Ten even announced its final ruling, Cornhuskers head coach Scott Frost raised the idea of the team's leaving the conference temporarily to play football.

Husker Sports @HuskerSports

"Our University is committed to playing no matter what, no matter what that looks like and how that looks. We want to play no matter who it is or where it is." #Huskers HC Scott Frost on opponents for 2020. https://t.co/kTPN9znv0v

Frost also joined Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green, president Ted Carter and athletic director Bill Moos in releasing a statement Tuesday to say they "continue to strongly believe the absolute safest place for our student athletes is within the rigorous safety protocols, testing procedures, and the structure and support provided by Husker Athletics."

Two days later, Carter and Green issued a new statement to say Nebraska "is a fully committed member of the Big Ten Conference."

While the Pac-12 joined the Big Ten in postponing fall sports in 2020, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 are all still operating with the purpose of staging football games. That almost certainly emboldens those in favor of seeing the Big Ten reverse course.

Ohio State star Justin Fields launched a petition through MoveOn that had garnered more than 140,000 signatures in almost six hours.

Justin Fields @justnfields

This cause is close to my heart - please sign: https://t.co/yFKlYE7pP0

Frost was among the coaches who argued players are safer staying with their teams and playing games than they would be otherwise.

A number of United States-based sports leagues have successfully returned to play while moving all necessary personnel into central locations that are closely monitored and closed off to the wider public.

College football could plausibly do the same thing, with NCAA president Mark Emmert advocating for the idea to stage NCAA championships. The obvious question is how schools could embrace the concept without jeopardizing the long-term status of amateurism.

Jay Bilas @JayBilas

Pac-12’s Larry Scott said, “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble.” NCAA President said today the NCAA is looking into bubble models for championships. We need to drop the amateur distinction. It’s pro. Bubbles are not only okay, they’re necessary.

Fans want to see football, and the players want to play. But that outside pressure might not be enough to overcome the health concerns and potential ramifications of having schools such as Nebraska defy their conference's wishes.