The Big Ten has cancelled its fall football season, and the conference’s official stance is to look toward a possible spring season (although there are a number of major problems with that plan). Still, some schools within the conference are trying to find a way to play in the fall, as three other Power Five conferences (SEC, Big 12, ACC) plan to.
Ohio State reporter Jeff Snook broke the following news Tuesday:
Athletic Director Gene Smith, with the full support of school president-elect Kristina Johnson, has been working behind the scenes for the past six days to organize fellow Big Ten conference athletic directors in convincing at least five other university presidents to move forward with a 10-game season to be played among six teams, a source familiar with the movement told me today.
In this proposed format, each team would play the other five Big Ten teams who are participating twice — once at home and once on the road, beginning on either Sept. 26 or Oct. 3. The season would conclude by mid-December and there would no Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.
Michigan is reportedly supposed to be one of the six schools involved in this plan, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, architect of one of the most severe COVID-19 lockdowns in the nation, is allegedly opposed to football in the state as things stand now.
“I also was also told that one roadblock to the new plan is the fact that Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has been vehemently opposed to football being played–at the high school and college level – in the state this fall,” Snook reported.
Whitmer is on record in months past as saying there needs to be a widely available vaccine and mass quantities of tests available to determine when “we have some immunity built up.” The most optimistic estimates for when a vaccine might be available point to the end of the year.
Michigan is still limiting indoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people, and bars are are closed for indoor service. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 or fewer people.
Whitmer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this story.