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On Monday Powers Warren, a redshirt junior tight end at Mississippi State, is scheduled to begin official practice with the Bulldogs for the 2020 football season.
In so doing, Powers isn’t particularly unique, he’ll be one of roughly 1200 scholarship athletes preparing to play football in the SEC this fall.
But there’s one thing that makes Powers quite a bit different than anyone else in the SEC — his dad is Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. The same Kevin Warren who just told all the football players in the Big Ten that it was unsafe for them to play college football this fall. (In so doing, it appears the Big Ten’s own “expert” analysis of medical risk factors may have been horribly flawed and relied upon what top cardiologists are calling “gibberish.”)
Earlier this week Warren announced the Big Ten was canceling college football this fall because it wasn’t safe to play. In making that announcement Warren said, “We just believe collectively there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports. We take this responsibility seriously and I will continually do everything in my power to make sure we put our student-athletes in a position to be empowered and elevated.”
It’s hard to see how student-athletes are being empowered and elevated in the Big Ten when they aren’t even allowed to decide whether they play football or not.
Indeed, Big Ten commissioner Warren has ensured that Big Ten players don’t even have the same rights that Warren’s son has in the SEC, the right to decide whether to play or not play sports this fall. And that’s despite the fact that on August 5th Warren said this about his son: “I have a son who’s a football student-athlete in the SEC at Mississippi State. And, so, I’ve asked myself as a father, would I be comfortable for him to participate in the Big Ten based upon the testing policies, protocols and procedures we have in place? And as of today, the answer is yes.”
So what has changed in the past week that Warren won’t allow other people’s sons to play in the Big Ten? That’s certainly a question that many parents of Big Ten players are raising. Given that parents at Iowa, Ohio State and Penn State are currently also advocating for their sons to be able to play football this fall in the Big Ten, it’s worth asking why the Big Ten’s own commissioner believes it’s safe enough for his own son to play college football, but not safe enough for the Big Ten to play college football?
Because that, my friends, is the very definition of hypocrisy. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is effectively telling the 1200 athletes on scholarship to play football in the Big Ten — as well as all the other scholarship athletes in the Big Ten in other sports who aren’t allowed to play — “Do as I say, not as my own family is doing.”
He’s the Marie Antoinette of college sports, a ruler telling the players intent on fomenting revolution to eat cake instead of bread.
Either it’s safe to play college football this fall or it isn’t.
And if Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren’s son is playing football in a rival conference, well, that certainly makes it appear it’s safe enough for college football.
That’s particularly the case when the Big Ten conferences are opening up their campuses for in person instruction, will have open dormitories, cafeterias, will allow athletes to train for twenty hours at their sports this fall and will even allow students to participate in intramural sports on campus.
If it’s not safe to play fall sports in the Big Ten, how is safe to have students, both athletes and non-athletes, attend in-person classes, live in dorms, eat in cafeterias, train in gyms, and play intramural sports? Put simply, the Big Ten’s decision to cancel fall sports is illogical, idiotic, and entirely lacking in rational judgment.
Now, to be fair, as the father of three boys I can tell you that it’s very often the case that kids disagree with their parents. Maybe Kevin is trying to get his son not to play and his son just isn’t listening. We don’t know what conversations between the Big Ten commissioner and his son might be taking place behind the scenes. But it certainly reeks of hypocrisy for the Big Ten’s own commissioner to say it isn’t safe to play college football this fall while his own son is playing college football this fall in the SEC. That’s particularly the case when at least the SEC is giving Powers, who is over the age of 18, the opportunity to make his own decision about whether to play or not, an opportunity his father is not giving to Big Ten athletes.
Outkick asked this exact question of the Big Ten office — how can Big Ten commissioner Warren shut down fall sports in the Big Ten while allowing his own son to play in the SEC?
But so far the Big Ten has not responded to Outkick’s request for comment. We’ll update this story when, or if, the Big Ten responds.
Until then Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is the biggest hypocrite in college sports — his own son has the ability to make a choice about playing this fall, the same choice he’s keeping from Big Ten players.
It’s do as I say, not as I do, in the Big Ten dictatorship, freedom in the SEC, ACC, and Big 12.
Luckily for Kevin Warren his own son is in the SEC and not the Big Ten.