While Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank was tight-lipped about the Big Ten’s rumored plans for the return of football during a name, image and likeness hearing on Capitol Hill, but Nebraska president Ted Carter may have spilled the beans.
Carter, ahead of a news conference Tuesday morning in Lincoln, Nebraska, was caught on a podium hot mic by KETV saying that there would be some sort of announcement surrounding Big Ten football later Tuesday.
“We’re getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight,” Carter said to Bob Hinson, the director of the National Strategic Research Institute, which has a deal with the University of Nebraska.
Soon after, Carter added that the decision was a “good move in the right direction,” according to the Omaha World-Herald.
Big Ten decision has been source of controversy
Citing uncertainty about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the Big Ten postponed fall sports back on Aug. 11. The Pac-12 followed suit, but the ACC, Big 12 and SEC all pushed forward. Teams in the ACC and Big 12 began their seasons over the weekend while the Big Ten remained on the sideline despite much consternation about the decision.
However, the Big Ten’s presidents and chancellors have been revisiting that decision with a vote on the matter expected in the near future. Blank explained Tuesday that the main reasons the conference’s leaders voted to postpone fall sports was because of the uncertainty around the frequency of “testing and contact tracing needed to keep athletes safe.” The conference’s uneasiness surrounding COVID-19’s potential impact on the heart also played a big role.
“Once we have answers to that and to some of those issues and things that we have ways to deal with them effectively, we will try to plan a delayed season,” Blank said Tuesday per Sports Illustrated.
In August, the vote was 11-3 in favor of postponement with Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State as the dissenting votes.
Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported that the Big Ten is eyeing Oct. 17 or 24 for its possible return. The Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors met on Sunday after hearing from a medical committee on Saturday. Sunday’s meeting did not culminate with a vote.
Sources: A comprehensive plan has been presented to the 14 Big Ten presidents/chancellors today, with an emphasis on medical protocols that have changed in recent weeks and are available to the league. No timetable set on vote, but expected soon. There's a lot of optimism.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 13, 2020
Sources told Yahoo Sports on Saturday that the league’s steering committee of eight presidents and chancellors met and heard a presentation from the medical committee of the return to competition task force.
But those eight presidents heard enough positive medical news, including the promise of daily rapid testing, that they want the same presentation to be given to all 14 of the league’s presidents and chancellors on Sunday. While a vote is not certain to happen on Sunday, sources said that the league will vote in some fashion on the sport coming back within the next 48 hours.
Now we continue to play the waiting game. And if Carter’s statement is true, the wait won’t be much longer.
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