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The Big Ten canceled its college football season based on flawed science and fearmongering. The conference is currently being sued in Nebraska for that decision by eight Cornhusker players.
Lingering in the background of the Big Ten’s decision to cancel fall sports has always been whispers that the decision was also heavily influenced by politics. Back in mid-June Yahoo Sports ran an article praising the new commissioner of the Big Ten, Kevin Warren, for his left wing political activism. The headline of that article, which focused on an aggressive effort to register athletes and have them vote against President Trump in 2020, was: “Can the Big Ten swing a presidential election? Kevin Warren wants to find out?”
So in mid-June we have an article saying the Big Ten wants to swing the presidential election — swing, obviously, means the Big Ten commissioner wants to change the president — and then in early August we get a sudden decision to shut down Big Ten football? That decision, which came out of nowhere given the Big Ten had just released a schedule five days beforehand, felt very political.
We don’t know for sure what was said during those discussions because the Big Ten has still refused to explain how the decision to cancel was made. Instead of providing transparency the Big Ten’s top lawyer is refusing to provide any documents about the decision to cancel the season. Even wilder, he says the “harm would be incredible” to the conference if he even explained how the decision was made.
Big Ten attorney Andrew Luger argues the “harm would be incredible” if board of directors documents were made available to the public just because eight student-athletes disagree with the decision. He said the court is asking for something with “no precedent.”
— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 27, 2020
How would the harm be incredible for the Big Ten to provide the rationale — and the votes for why they canceled the season? Far from being incredibly harmful, don’t they owe this basic information to the players, coaches, and fans of the Big Ten?
I think so.
So do the Nebraska players suing them for the decision.
Given that the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten schools are likely to be left leaning and that the Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren made registering athletes to vote so they could turn the election tide his most prominent statement as a new league commissioner, it’s not hard to believe politics might be involved in that decision.
So all these details were already out there suggesting politics were involved the decision to cancel the season. But the political angle became even more crystal clear today when the Joe Biden for president campaign spent millions of dollars to run ads in Big Ten states blaming President Trump for the Big Ten not playing football this fall. Those ads, which are a big nationwide ad buy also running with targeted versions in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Arizona all blame President Trump for there not being college football this fall. The ads show the empty Big Ten stadiums — and the empty Arizona stadiums in the Pac 12 — and instruct sports fans to vote for Biden instead of Trump because Trump took away their football.
But the reality is Donald Trump had nothing to do with canceling the seasons in the Big Ten and the Pac 12. In fact, Trump came on my radio show this month and directly said all college football conferences should be playing this fall before the Big Ten or the Pac 12 canceled football.
Indeed, all three Big Ten states not playing football this fall targeted by Biden with his ads, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, are all run by Democratic governors. And all three of those Democratic governors directly opposed football being played in their states. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer even said she was glad the Big Ten and high school sports were canceled. She was glad! The state of Pennsylvania had to overrule their governor to play high school football this fall.
And what’s also important to note here is all of these states have football taking place, just not Big Ten football. In Pennsylvania high schools, Temple and Pittsburgh in college and the Steelers and Eagles in the NFL can all play, just not Penn State. In Wisconsin they are playing high school football and the Green Bay Packers are playing, just not the Wisconsin Badgers. In Michigan the Detroit Lions are playing. (Assuming you count the Lions as a football team).
So it’s not just that the Big Ten made a decision different than the rest of college football, it’s that the Big Ten decision is often directly opposed by everyone else in their state’s decisions on football. Witness the state of Ohio where the Browns, Bengals, University of Cincinnati and high school sports are playing, but the Ohio State Buckeyes aren’t.
Made even more insane by the fact that the Big Ten’s latest plan is to start play in late November. Yep, the Big Ten wants to start up practice right after the election. If it’s not safe to play outdoors in September and October, how is it safe to play in November? This is pure lunacy.
Which raises a big question, is the Big Ten canceling college football not because it isn’t safe to play, but at least partly so they can blame Donald Trump for the Big Ten not playing? And, as Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren hoped to do back in June, is this his master plan to swing the election in the Big Ten states?
Well, it certainly seems like there’s an awful lot of smoke here.
That’s made even more the case when the Big Ten won’t release any of the comments made surrounding their decision to shut down football in August. Which is why it’s starting to look an awful lot like college football players, coaches, and fans in the Big Ten had their season canceled not because of the science around football but because of the politics around football.
The Big Ten’s leaders hate Donald Trump and want him defeated.
And if the collateral damage is a lost fall football season? Well, that’s just the price that has to be paid to ensure Trump isn’t in office in 2020.
Big Ten players, coaches and fans are just the fall guys for a game of political football.
It’s pathetic and dishonest, but it’s definitely happening. And if the Big Ten’s leaders had any sense of decency they would publicly apologize to the players, coaches and fans of their conference and reinstate the fall football season immediately.
In the meantime, the Big Ten hasn’t found a miracle cure for the coronavirus yet, but they will soon.
It’s called election day.