Although they had first hand knowledge of the conditions on the ground, the Big Ten’s athletic directors were shut out of the league’s decision to postpone fall sports according to a report by Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald.
That’s significant, because according to the report, all 14 of the Big Ten ADs wanted to play football this fall.
Instead, McKewon’s report highlights what has been suspected — the university presidents and chancellors got involved in the process, and suddenly everything changed.
Just days after the league released its revised 10 game schedule, meetings were held involving Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, the presidents and chancellors, and medical personnel.
“The presidents and chancellors weren’t in the same Zoom meetings as athletic directors. Athletic directors weren’t in the same Zoom meetings as medical personnel, either,” the Omaha World-Herald report indicates. “Seasoned athletic veterans like (Nebraska’s Bill) Moos, Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, Penn State’s Sandy Barbour and Ohio State’s Gene Smith were left out of key discussions that shaped the league’s decisions.
“Instead, first-year Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren was in those meetings as the athletic directors’ voice.”
The report indicates that Warren was aware of the fact that all 14 ADs were unanimous in their decision to move forward with a fall season.
How their voices were represented in the key meetings that led to the postponement of the season, however, is unknown.
“I would have liked to have been in the room when they expressed it to the commissioner and our presidents and chancellors,” Moos told McKewon. “The commissioner was operating in silos, and the silos weren’t connected. And, in the end, that created varying degrees of communication not being delivered.”
Warren, who has never had a job in college athletics prior to taking the Commissioner position, later confessed in interviews that he should have brought all of the parties together in the decision making process.
That appears to be the plan going forward.
The Big Ten’s Return to Competition Task Force, a joint effort of presidents and chancellors, athletic directors, coaches, and medical personnel, is working together as it targets a season beginning in January.
But it is too late to save the traditional fall campaign.
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