Big Ten Commish Kevin Warren: Vote to Postpone Fall Sports Won't Be Revisited

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 19, 2020

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren addresses the media in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 12, 2020, after it was announced that the remainder of the Big Ten Conference men's basketball tournament will be cancelled. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields' petition to reinstate fall sports in the Big Ten has now received more than 283,000 signatures. It likely won't change much.  

In an open letter published Wednesday, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said a vote by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors was "overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited."

Warren also addressed confusion and disappointment in announcing the postponement of college football only days after releasing a revised season schedule: 

"We understand the disappointment and questions surrounding the timing of our decision to postpone fall sports, especially in light of releasing a football schedule only six days prior to that decision. From the beginning, we consistently communicated our commitment to cautiously proceed one day at a time with the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes at the center of our decision-making process. That is why we took simultaneous paths in releasing the football schedule, while also diligently monitoring the spread of the virus, testing, and medical concerns as student-athletes were transitioning to full-contact practice.

"... We understand the passion of the many student-athletes and their families who were disappointed by the decision, but also know there are many who have a great deal of concern and anxiety regarding the pandemic."

Warren further explained the information given to the council before it voted.

The primary factors behind the decision to postpone fall sports included the "alarming rate" of COVID-19 transmission with "little indication from medical experts that our campuses, communities or country could gain control of the spread of the virus prior to the start of competition."

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

Randy Wade: “It’s going down now. I had one poster made. I’m going to have two now.”

Additionally, medical experts told the conference leaders there were too many unknowns connected to the virus, including incomplete data relating to cardiomyopathy and an unacceptable risk associated with potential long-term effects. 

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

Statement from #OhioState AD Gene Smith: "We view this as a temporary delay, and [university president] Dr. [Kristina] Johnson has directed us to prepare for the possibility of bringing at least some of our fall sports back to practice and competition by the end of the year."

Warren wrote the conference assembled a Return to Competition Task Force "to plan for the return of fall sports competition as soon as possible," including a potential winter/spring schedule. That would include college football with the Big Ten exploring "the number of football games that can reasonably be played from a health perspective in a full calendar year while maintaining a premier competitive experience for our student-athletes culminating in a Big Ten Championship."

Nicole Auerbach 😷 @NicoleAuerbach

Ohio State AD Gene Smith: "We are actively planning for the winter and spring seasons for all sports, including the return of football." Been hearing the term "winter season" a lot today re: Big Ten season. Coaches like Ryan Day and James Franklin are fans of starting early.

In the meantime, Warren noted the conference will continue to focus its decisions on the health and safety of its athletes.