Big Ten Presidents, Chancellors Voted 11-3 to Postpone CFB Season, Per Affidavit

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

Gates leading into Memorial Stadium are padlocked, in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. The Big Ten won't play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports' power conferences to yield to the pandemic. The move announced Tuesday. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Big Ten presidents and chancellors reportedly voted 11-3 to postpone the 2020 fall football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported the news Monday, noting the detail was revealed as part of a brief and two sworn affidavits filed by the league. According to the report, the Big Ten is still looking for the dismissal of the lawsuit eight Nebraska football players filed in Lancaster County District Court.

Brett McMurphy of Stadium shared the conference's statement:

Brett McMurphy @Brett_McMurphy

Big Ten statement: https://t.co/Dg4xJDlKOO

The Big Ten called the lawsuit that is attempting to nullify the postponement decision "a baseless complaint" but did say it will provide more transparency to players and parents with regard to the actual decision.

Auerbach explained much of the frustration stemmed from a lack of clarity about whether there was a formal vote before Commissioner Kevin Warren and the league made its announcement to postpone the season.

"We didn't vote per se," Minnesota president Joan Gabel said. "It's a deliberative process where we came to a decision together, but I absolutely support the decision that we came to. Safety first. Absolutely, safety first."

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said, "It's unclear to me whether or not there was a vote."

That Warren wrote "An Open Letter to the Big Ten Community" on Aug. 19 to reaffirm the decision did not do much to quell frustration.

Randy Wade, the father of Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade, organized a protest with parents of players on multiple teams at the Big Ten office in Rosemont, Illinois, on Aug. 21, looking for more clarity and a bigger voice.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields posted a petition calling for the season to happen. The petition has more than 300,000 signatures as of Monday.

The lawsuit from Nebraska players may look to "unearth more information from school presidents, athletic directors, trainers, coaches and medical experts" even though the vote was revealed, Auerbach noted.

"Among the information that push might turn up, a source indicated to The Athletic: documented failures and shortcomings in schools' ability to follow contact tracing, testing and prevention guidelines that league presidents knew about but did not publicly cite as support for their decision," she wrote.

Auerbach also noted Big Ten bylaws require 60 percent or more of presidents and chancellors to be in agreement to postpone the season. While the vote was not unanimous, the conference reportedly met that threshold.