Will they or won’t they play this fall?
That of course is the elephant in the room right now when it comes to Big Ten football.
As we told you weeks ago, the Big Ten university presidents and chancellors are the decision makers here, not Commissioner Kevin Warren.
The presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to not play back in August, and if the league is going to reverse course and play in the fall, another vote will be needed to reverse that decision.
Nebraska president Ted Carter was one of the three that voted to play in August.
Since that vote rumors have swirled about possible restarts in October, November and January. There was speculation that a second vote had been scheduled for last Friday.
Carter joined News Talk 1400 AM to address both the rumors, and what is actually going on behind the scenes.
“There is an awful lot of work still going on with the return to play committee for which (Nebraska) chancellor Ronnie Green, Athletic Director Bill Moos and coach Scott Frost are on, Carter said.
“They’re putting together some plans that the presidents and chancellors will vote on very soon. The fight is still on. We have been aligned here in this state from the get go….we feel it’s safe to play here. That’s our theme here and we’re still strong on that.”
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune later reported on Wednesday that the vote will be this weekend at the earliest, possibly Sunday or Monday.
Carter has seen all of the rumors on social media.
One popular one that seems more unlikely with each passing day is for the league to start the season on Oct. 10.
Moreover, a Penn State doctor started a media firestorm last week when he said that upwards of 30 to 35 percent of all Big Ten athletes that tested positive for COVID-19 have developed a heart condition known as myocarditis. The doctor’s assertion was debunked later that some day.
“I follow Twitter like everyone else,” Carter said. “There are some people that just want to put out disinformation and then there are some professionals on campuses like the Penn State doctor that put out information that had to pull all of that back. Everyone should take information with a strong dose of caution. Listen to the people that are in the senior administrative positions. We are very open and transparent.”
The effort to have Big Ten football this fall also reached the White House last week.
Carter was thought to be at the center of the efforts to have Warren meet with President Donald Trump. That too proved to be incorrect.
“Every email I’ve typed out in the last year has been shared with the media. Even when President Trump called Kevin Warren, somebody thought that I might have directed that at the White House,” Carter said. “So I had those emails pulled and I can confirm that that did not happen.”
What Carter can also confirm is that there is a legitimate effort underway to start the season this fall.
Advances in testing have played a central role in moving the needle forward.
Unsubstantiated reports early this week suggest that now as many as 7 Big Ten presidents are on board to start this season this fall.
While it isn’t clear, it is believed that at least 60 percent of the league, or 9 of the 14 schools, must vote in favor of the decision to play according to the conference bylaws.
Carter didn’t speak on where the vote currently stands.
But he did promise something the Big Ten has lacked over the last month — a transparent approach.
And for his part, Carter’s view on the matter hasn’t changed.
“We’re going to be honest and straightforward,” Carter said. “We (Nebraska) continue to say we are ready to play and can play.”
Soon we will find out if enough of his peers are ready to follow.
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