Rutgers President: Donald Trump Using 'Cheap Politics' with Big Ten Football

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2020

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at MBS International Airport, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Freeland, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)
Jose Juarez/Associated Press

Rutgers President Jonathan Holloway called out United States President Donald Trump on Thursday for attempting to get involved with the Big Ten's discussions on when to hold its 2020 football season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to NJ.com's Steve Politi, Holloway suggested Trump should be focused on the bigger issues facing the country:

"Cheap politics. I mean, it's just cheap politics. I want that person to be paying attention to matters of national security and national importance. This does not rise to that level—not for a half second. And even if it was a president that I was completely in love with that was doing this, I’d still think it would be cheap politics."

The Big Ten decided to postpone the start of its 2020 season because of the rapid spread of COVID-19, and the earliest its season could start at this point is mid-October.

Eight Nebraska football players sued the Big Ten in August in an attempt to invalidate the decision to postpone the season, secure damages and create transparency regarding how the decision was made.

According to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Big Ten presidents and chancellors divulged that they voted 11-3 to postpone the season in the interest of "the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes."

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Trump has recently been outspoken about his belief that the Big Ten should hold its season as soon as possible. Per Rebecca Klar of The Hill, Trump said: "[It's] crucial for colleges and universities to stay open, we hope that they do indeed stay open. We want to see Big Ten football, we hope it's coming back."

He also discussed the possibility of the Big Ten having its season even if all 14 members don't want to participate: "I have a feeling they may do it without everybody. But people are working very, very hard to get Big Ten football back. I'm pushing for it and it'll be a great thing for our country."

According to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune (h/t MLive.com's Aaron McMann), Big Ten presidents and chancellors could meet within the next week to vote on the conference's next steps.

The FBS college football season began last week and this week will see several teams from the ACC and Big 12 play for the first time, followed by the SEC on Sept. 26.

Both the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their seasons, as did the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

If the Big Ten does have a 2020-21 football season, it is possible it won't be held until the spring, although no firm decisions have been made.