Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh joined parents and players Saturday in a walk to protest the Big Ten's postponed season. At the rally, he voiced his support for the league to reverse course and insisted on starting the season soon, saying the Wolverines could be ready to play "in two weeks" if the league changes its mind.
"We want to play as soon as we possibly can," Harbaugh said. "And we're ready to play. We could be ready to play a game in two weeks. Our guys have trained without a pause since June 15. So that's our position. We're ready to play as soon as we possibly can play."
Conference presidents from the Big Ten met last month and decided to cancel the league's college football season for the fall with the hopes of playing in the spring of 2021. They were the first major conference to make such a decision, with the Pac-12 following their lead.
The other three major football conferences -- the SEC, ACC and Big 12 -- are still pushing ahead with a fall season. The Big 12 and ACC start their respective season this week, while the SEC will start its season in late September.
The Big Ten's decision has been met with fierce opposition by many players, parents and coaches, with movements on social media and online petitions gaining traction in recent weeks. Its decision was made because of "multiple factors," according to the conference at the time of the announcement, including the "medical advice and counsel" from its panel of experts.
"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," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said last month announcing the postponement of the league's season. "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."
Harbaugh was joined by his daughter at the rally as well as some of his players, among them quarterback Dylan McCaffrey. The protest took place the same day the Wolverines were originally scheduled to open their 2020 season.
"Well, I mean, would have rather been coming to a game than a rally," Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press. "But, it definitely hits you. We should've been playing a game today."