The Michigan Wolverines might be playing games in October. They might be playing them in November. They might not play them until January or February. Nobody seems to be able to come to a consensus on what the next steps for the Big Ten as it pertains to football, head coach Jim Harbaugh is preparing his team to be ready to play at a moment’s notice.
But despite all of the rumors and bad PR in recent weeks for the conference and its school presidents, senior defensive end Kwity Paye says that president Mark Schlissel has yet to address the team despite the desire for answers.
“We haven’t heard anything,” Paye said in a call with the Michigan media on Thursday. “I think Carlo (Kemp) has talked to him a bit, but other than that, he hasn’t addressed the team. We haven’t had any conversation with him. There’s been no communication.”
Despite the conference stating on a few occasions that the decision to postpone fall sports was final, the rumor mill has continued to churn that hope is not dead for a 2020 fall season. Offensive tackle Ryan Hayes is as baffled as the rest of us are.
“We’re all frustrated and upset and we thought it was the final word,” Hayes said on the media call. “With all these new rumors coming in, it’s definitely frustrating and an emotional roller coaster, because you don’t really know what to believe, what not to believe.”
The uncertainly rages on across the Big Ten, but so does football practices. Michigan has continued to get work in on the field during the downtime and Hayes said that Harbaugh is preparing the team to possibly resume competition in October.
“Our coaches haven’t really told us much because I don’t think they know, either, but (Wednesday) before practice, Coach Harbaugh did say we could possibly play in October just to get us a little motivation, just to keep practicing hard,” Hayes said. “We’re going to be prepared. We have mentioned October, but nothing’s for sure.”
“If we can play as soon as possible, I’m in, because we haven’t really stopped practicing,” Hayes said. “We all feel prepared, and we’re ready to go.”
Paye is not putting much stock in any of the rumors or what comes from the Big Ten itself, considering they released a schedule just days before pulling the plug on the season. But he is focused on being ready for whatever happens in October, whether it be Michigan’s planned combine or the start of actual competition again.
“They’ve given us false hope before where they’ve given us the schedule and they say we’re going to play and they ended up canceling it,” Paye said. “I’m not sure what assurance the team would need to know we’re playing. We’re just going to keep working, though. We’ve been practicing. We haven’t really taken our foot off the pedal yet.
“If they decide to have the October schedule, the November schedule, we’ll be ready to play.”