Group of Nebraska parents demand answers from Big Ten, threaten lawsuit after canceled season

·4 min read

Another group of Big Ten parents are demanding answers from commissioner Kevin Warren about why the football season was canceled this fall.

Parents of 11 Nebraska players have hired a lawyer and wrote a letter to Warren on Thursday demanding documents about the vote that canceled fall sports in the league.

Letter demands all documents, transparency

The Big Ten and the Pac-12 became the first two Power Five conferences to cancel sports this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision that has received extreme backlash from fans, players and their parents alike.

Parents from Ohio State, Iowa and other Big Ten schools are even expected to hold a protest at the conference headquarters in Chicago on Friday.

The decision to cancel the season, Warren said, was due to safety concerns around the virus and won’t be revisited.

“While your announcement referenced safety concerns as the basis for the decision, our Clients strongly believe that the football environment at the University of Nebraska is the safest place for them to be, and the postponement or cancellation of the fall season places them in a far worse position than if the Big Ten Conference moved forward with the season,” the group of parents wrote in the letter, in part.

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The group wants to know why Warren and the conference released a modified fall schedule, then reversed course less than a week later and canceled the season.

They’ve also demanded “all documents relating to all ‘votes’ regarding whether to cancel, postpone or delay fall sports,” and what “scientific data and other medical information” was used when making the decision.

The parents have threatened to file a lawsuit if their demands aren’t met by Monday.

“After evaluating the COVID-19 climate for months, how could so much … change in six days?” they wrote, in part. “Your student-athletes are entitled to know who made the decision and how they voted.”

Warren — who is in his first year at the helm of the conference — defended the conference’s decision to cancel the season in an interview with Yahoo Sports on Wednesday, though he did admit that he handled the aftermath of that decision poorly.

Doing the right thing, he said, is more important than being popular.

“Was this a clunky process? Yes,” he told Yahoo Sports. “Were there areas I’d have liked to gone smoother? Absolutely. I need to learn from it and get better.”

The SEC, ACC and Big 12 are all moving forward with plans to play modified schedules this fall, as are select smaller conferences across the country. Plenty of others have canceled over coronavirus concerns, and several universities — including North Carolina and Notre Dame — have had to reverse course and go to online-only learning after massive outbreaks on campus when students returned.

It’s entirely plausible that other conferences’ plans to hold the season fold due to the virus, too.

Glen Snodgrass, the father of a redshirt freshman at Nebraska, said he simply just wants full transparency from the Big Ten.

“If this decision is the best thing for our kids, we want to know what science and data they used to come to this conclusion,” he said, via the Lincoln Journal Star. “Another big issue is the fact that there are still other conferences playing while we’re not. I think that’s going to be difficult on our kids. They’re resilient. They’re going to bounce back.

“But once September and October rolls around, and they’re watching the ACC and SEC play on Saturday afternoons, it’s going to be tough on them.”

Nebraska football helmet
A small group of Nebraska parents have threatened to sue the Big Ten over its decision to cancel the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Will Newton)

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