lThe Big Ten Conference announced a plan in early August to postpone all fall sports until the spring due to COVID-19. Weeks later, the plan is still in place while the SEC is preparing for upcoming games, and President Donald Trump is speaking out. He headed to Twitter and expressed strong opinions about the decision.
"Disgraceful that Big Ten is not playing football. Let them PLAY!" Trump tweeted on Friday. This outburst is not the first time that the president has spoken out about the Big Ten Conference and the upcoming football season. He previously appeared on Fox and Friends and claimed that the athletes could handle the coronavirus. He also said that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence called him and said that the players want to suit up for the upcoming season.
"The young children handle it [COVID-19] very well. I want to open the schools. I hope the Big Ten is going to do it," Trump said, per 247Sports. "I'll tell you what, we've got to play football. They put out false rumors, saying 'I wonder if people are angry that Trump closed football.' I'm the one that's fighting for it to open. A lot of it is opened."
While the current plan is for the Big Ten to play in spring, reports are surfacing about a potential earlier return. ESPN reports that the conference could actually start the season on Thanksgiving weekend. This is traditionally the weekend when all of the rivalry games take place, but the Big Ten could use this as an opportunity to kick off the slate of games.
"It may be a little earlier, but around January," Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told ESPN. "We may try to start earlier. We're talking to all of the TV people, trying to get all of the information and see what fits. We still have to go through our chancellors and presidents to OK it."
Alvarez continued and said that a winter season is currently the focus of the conference. Additionally, indoor arenas such as the Minnesota Vikings' U.S. Bank Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium could host Big Ten games. The Detroit Lions' Ford Field is also an option as the fall approaches.
Whether the Big Ten returns in November is unknown, but one prominent player supports the idea. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields previously created an online petition to play football in 2020. He wrote that the players want to play and that they believe the established safety protocols will mitigate concerns. The petition earned over 300,000 signatures after Fields posted it online.