Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren had a lot to say about the postponement of sports in the conference this fall — unfortunately a lot of it translates to ‘We don’t know.’
“This is a holistic decision,” Warren said in an interview with the Big Ten Network. “There are just too many uncertainties now to go forward and have fall sports in the Big Ten.”
Which essentially just echoed what he said in the statement put out by the Big Ten today:
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward. As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”
Essentially, the Big Ten, along with its presidents and chancellors, don’t know what the consequences of holding fall athletics will be, and that makes them worried enough to vote the season down. When asked whether the vote was unanimous, Warren demurred.
“Our schools, we don’t always agree.” Warren said. “… But I think people understand, and I take that from a passion standpoint, that we will be together in the Big Ten. So I just think it’s important to make that very clear. I would rather not have a detailed discussion about your question of whether the vote was unanimous or was it not unanimous.”
Translation for this one: it was not unanimous. And it’s pretty well known who at least one of the non-unanimous voters are. Nebraska said, in a statement today backed by its system president Ted Carter, chancellor Ronnie Green, athletic director Bill Moos and head football coach Scott Frost:
“We are very disappointed in the decision by the Big Ten conference to postpone the fall football season, as we have been and continue to be ready to play,” the joint statement read.
Michigan president Mark Schlissel confirmed with a statement on Tuesday that he voted in favor of postponement despite football coach Jim Harbaugh advocating playing in the fall.
After tip-toeing ever-so gracefully around the question surrounding unanimous voting, Warren reaffirmed that the season being postponed had to deal with many factors surrounding the spread of the virus, not just one.
Directly addressed was myocarditis, the heart affliction that seems to be worrying medical professionals as a possible effect of COVID-19, but Warren said the new concern over it was not a primary reason for the vote, rather just added to the many concerns and of course “uncertainties.”
Despite all this lack of certainty by the commissioner and conference alike, Warren put on a face to assure the audience of one final thing about the Big Ten before the end of his interview:
“We will continue to be absolutely dominant, not just academically but athletically.”