Earlier today, a group of eight Nebraska football players released a legal complaint against the Big Ten, in an attempt to get the season restarted for this fall. The league has responded to the lawsuit.
One of the sticking points for the Husker players is a lack of clarity when it comes to the vote that decided the cancellation of fall sports. “The Big Ten not actually voting on the decision, or at least being unwilling and/or unable to produce records of such a vote, violates its governing documents,” the complaint reads. “The decision should be invalid and unenforceable.”
The Big Ten is rejecting the idea that there wasn’t a formal vote on the fall football season. In a response, the league says that its “Council of Presidents and Chancellors overwhelmingly voted to postpone the fall sports season based on medical concerns and in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes.” The league stops short of revealing the vote breakdown, but says that it was an “important decision for our 14 member institutions.”
“We share the disappointment that some student-athletes and their families are feeling,” the Big Ten statement continues. “However, this lawsuit has no merit and we will defend the decision to protect all student-athletes as we navigate through this global pandemic. We are actively considering options to get back to competition and look forward to doing so when it is safe to play.”
The Big Ten’s response to the lawsuit. pic.twitter.com/xGSxw2trbG
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) August 27, 2020
That last part is likely meant to assuage the concerns of those who wonder if the Big Ten will be able to pull off a proposed spring season. Some of the more football-focused people within the league, like Ohio State coach Ryan Day, have called for things to start as early as possible: potentially early-to-mid January.
The spring season would definitely give leagues like the Big Ten and Pac-12 the ability to wait for improved testing and protocols. It also has risks, namely players participating in two seasons in a calendar year, and the potential for major stars to sit out with the NFL Draft coming in April. The NFL has not signaled that it is enthusiastic about the idea of pushing the draft back, so if a season was to start in February or March, it could run right into the draft, giving players a difficult choice to make.
Hopefully we’ll get more firm plans for the Big Ten football season in the coming weeks. Players and parents from the Nebraska football program remain focused on the fall until they exhaust all options, though.
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