Big Ten ‘moves together’ in football season decision


While a decision on a fall football season hangs in the balance, a Big Ten official says the conference will run in sync regardless of the outcome.

Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, told reporters on Monday afternoon on a teleconference that the league plans to “move together” collectively, regardless of a pending vote on fall sports.

“I will say we’re all going to move together in the Big Ten,” Blank said. “We’re all going to play or not, if we can. It won’t be a school-by-school thing. ”

Blank’s comments come as the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors Council, a group of 14 principals, are expected to vote this week on rescinding a previously scheduled postponement. It was reported that the council could vote on a decision as early as Monday, while others have suggested it could take place this week.

Plus: Big Ten reportedly set to talk about fall football

Meanwhile, Michigan and Michigan State Presidents Mark Schlissel and Samuel Stanley, both infectious disease experts, have remained tight-lipped on the subject. A Michigan spokesperson told MLive on Monday that Schlissel was not available for comment, while Stanley had not spoken to reporters for about a month.

Reliable information on conference plans has been hard to come by in recent days, with reports over the weekend suggesting genuine ‘optimism’ was spreading throughout the league when it comes to football. But for that to happen, 60% of Big Ten presidents and chancellors (nine) would have to vote to play.

In August, the group voted 11-3 against the fall competition, citing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. School leaders met again on Sunday, when they were reportedly given updated medical information and a draft football schedule that would begin in October.

Earlier today, sports-talk radio host Dan Patrick, who correctly reported on the Big Ten’s plan to postpone fall sports to August, said a vote was scheduled for Monday afternoon and that the Big Ten planned to play without Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland and possibly Wisconsin. That would leave a group of eight to ten remaining schools, with Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State and Purdue all planning to play.

On Saturday, the Ingham County, Michigan Department of Health, home to the city of East Lansing and Michigan State University, recommended that all students self-quarantine for two weeks amid a COVID-19 outbreak on campus.

An exception was made for university sports training, and the MSU football team continued to train.

But the new coronavirus continues to spread across the United States, where the number of confirmed deaths topped 194,000 people as of Monday evening, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The number of deaths is expected to double by the end of the year.

– MLive’s Matt Wenzel contributed to this report.


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