The cries for transparency and an explanation for the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports have grown louder each day since the announcement was made. Three weeks into the fallout, it appears that a lawsuit has confirmed some of the details of why things played out the way that they did.
According to a brief in response to the lawsuit filed by Nebraska football players last week, the Big Ten says that its presidents and chancellors voted by a count of 11-3 in favor of postponing fall athletic competitions. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reports ($) that a source revealed the three dissenting votes came from Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State, which is not much of a surprise to anyone who has followed the news cycle recently.
Despite the fact that the brief sees the conference asking for the lawsuit to be thrown out as a “baseless complaint,” it does seem as if they are moving forward to provide the relevant details to players and their families as to why the decision was made and the data that led to the final call.
The lawsuit from the Nebraska players was done with the intent to reverse the conference’s decision to postpone athletics and clarification on if a formal vote actually took place to push things back. The conference only needed 60 percent (9 votes) of the schools to be on board and they were able to clear that mark somewhat comfortably.
The Big Ten’s poor messaging and public relations has perhaps been the biggest issue in all of this, leading to students, coaches, administrators and parents alike voicing their displeasure with the decision. We may never truly get the full answers on what took place, but whether or not a formal vote took place seems like an argument in semantics at this point. It is clear that the vast majority of Big Ten presidents and chancellors were uncomfortable with the idea of athletics being played this fall, whether it be over liability concerns, extra protections that the general student population would not otherwise get or a combination of these factors.
We will continue to track this story as it unfolds, but a reversal of a decision is merely social media fodder at the moment. Without the approval of the presidents — which we wrote about last week — there will not be any football played this fall in Big Ten country.