The Big Ten announced last month that it has postponed all fall sports with the hopes of playing football in spring 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, we've had players petition to play, coaches stand up for them, lawsuits filed, positions defended, parents protesting outside of the conference office and murmurings that the play to delay to the spring could be changed.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day has made a public plea to change it ... to mid-October. The second-year coach of the Buckeyes released a statement on Thursday urging the conference to speed up the process.
"I couldn't possibility be prouder of how this team, our medical personnel, athletic director and president have stayed together and managed through this extremely difficult time with so many unanswered questions," he said. "The Big Ten medical subcommittee has done an excellent job of creating a safe pathway toward returning to play in mid-October."
It's interesting that Day, who led Ohio State to the conference championship and a berth in the College Football Playoff in his first season at the helm, has gone all-in on the Big Ten using medical information by the conference's medical committee itself. That follows in line with what the biggest criticism of the conference has been: communication. Commissioner Kevin Warren and the school presidents haven't been on the same page throughout most of this saga, and it has led to dysfunction among the coaches, players, athletic directors and academic administration.
"While I understand the Big Ten Conference's decision to postpone the football season because of health and safety considerations, the communication of information from the Big Ten following the decision has been disappointing and often unclear," he continued. "However, we still have an opportunity to give our young men what they have worked so hard for: A chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall."
The last part is very important. The Pac-12 followed in the Big Ten's shoes by postponing football just one day after the Big Ten's announcement. The SEC, ACC and Big 12, however, kept plugging along in the hopes of kicking things off this fall. The ACC and Big 12 will do that this weekend, while the SEC will wait until Sept. 25 to tee it up. As a result, the College Football Playoff intends to go on as scheduled with the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl national semifinals on Jan. 1, 2021, followed by the College Football Playoff National Championship on Jan. 11 in Tampa.
However, while Day is pushing for the Big Ten to get started next month, other programs within his conference -- such as Penn State and Wisconsin -- have paused athletic activities amid COVID-19 outbreaks. On the other end of the spectrum, Michigan recently reported zero coronavirus positives.
Will Day's public statement criticizing the conference using information from its own medical subcommittee accelerate the push to restart Big Ten football? We'll see.