The Big Ten released a letter in response to leaders of six legislatures in the conference’s footprint, asking commissioner Kevin Warren to reconsider the decision to postpone the fall football season.
The letter was written on the letterhead of Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and also signed by statehouse leaders from Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
“Recent actions taken by other conferences around the country to start football and other fall sports have placed the Big Ten, its members and students at a disadvantage,” the letter said. “These athletes are losing a vital part of student life and are becoming less marketable to future employers with each passing week. Additionally, our local universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships.
“This is even more frustrating when we think of how our Big Ten athletic programs are leading the way by providing outstanding health and safety protocols. All of that unprecedented planning and teamwork was an unmitigated success, and yet somehow the conference has decided to cast it aside anyway.”
On Wednesday, the Big Ten responded.
“We could not agree more with the group of midwest legislators who stated in a letter to Commissioner Kevin Warren that the Big Ten Conference is ‘home to some of the world’s leading institutions of higher learning, scientific research and medicine.’” the statement read. “The Big Ten’s Return to Competition Task Force is tapping into those resources as it prepares for a safe return to competition.
“The letter reflects that we all want the same thing, which is for ‘sports to continue safely.’ The conference will continue to work with the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, as it has always done, to identify opportunities to resume competition as soon as it safe to do so.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.