MINNEAPOLIS - President Donald Trump wants college football to be played across the country this fall, so much that he had a conference call with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on Tuesday about it.
According to reports released Monday, Big Ten presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 in early August in favor of postponing fall sports due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. The information became public after a lawsuit filed by eight Nebraska football players. Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa were the three schools to vote against postponing fall sports.
The Big Ten released a statement on Tuesday after the league's conversation with Trump.
"The Big Ten Conference and its Return to Competition Task Force, on behalf of the Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors, are exhausting every resource to help student-athletes get back to playing the sports they love, and at the appropriate time, in the safest and healthiest way possible."
According to national sports talk radio host Dan Patrick, the Big Ten could start playing football as early as Oct. 10.
University of Minnesota President Jan Gabel said on Aug. 11 that she “wouldn’t call it a vote per se. Rather, a deliberative process where we came to a decision together.” She said she supported the league’s decision to postpone fall sports.
“Absolutely safety first,” Gabel said.
The decision came six days after the Big Ten released a 10-game, conference-only schedule for the entire conference. It had the Gophers going to Michigan State this Saturday.
Reports also emerged Monday that Big Ten coaches are pushing to start a season as early as Thanksgiving weekend, but the more realistic option at this point is a Jan. 1, 2020 start date.
The Gophers, entering P.J. Fleck’s fourth season, want a Big Ten season as much as any program. Minnesota is coming off an 11-2 season, its best in 115 years, capped off by a win over Auburn in the Outback Bowl.