The Show Goes On

The Big Ten’s back and the Nebraska Cornhuskers are a big reason why.

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AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has been under much scrutiny due to his indecision and unclear statements during talks on the status of the Big Ten football season.

On August 11, 2020, all Big Ten sports and activities came to a screeching halt. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, who is under his first year as league commissioner, called for all 2020-2021 Big Ten games to be cancelled, just four days after releasing a 10 game schedule. The hasty decision was made after a 9-3 vote by all Big Ten teams in favor of not playing football this fall. While Ohio State, Nebraska, and Iowa were the only teams that voted in favor of a season, there seemed to be much more support behind the season than was originally thought.

Following the cancellation of the 2020-2021 Big Ten football season, there were some questions as to why the Big Ten had decided to cancel even though the SEC, Big 12, and ACC conferences were continuing with their seasons. Commissioner Kevin Warren and the Big Ten committee stated that the decision was made based on the safety of the players due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Prior to the cancellation of the season, multiple Big Ten teams had gone through shut-downs and quarantines during the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak. Though that may have seemed like a solid reason to put the season to a stand still, new daily testing processes have emerged to dull the spread of coronavirus since that point almost six months ago.

Nebraska and Ohio State, among others, threatened to build their own schedules and have their own football season without the Big Ten. There were even talks of Nebraska rejoining the Big 12, which they left for the Big Ten almost 10 years ago.

CTB celebrates… (Francis Gardler)

Many would say that the analysts at ESPN were treating Nebraska unfairly, as Ohio State had very similar plans as Nebraska and they were praised by the sports network.

The University of Nebraska was one of the three universities that voted in favor of the Big Ten football season on August 11. After news of the football season being cancelled, many staff members, players, and parents took to social media to voice their thoughts on the Big Ten’s decision. Parents of Nebraska players formed a group to protest the Big Ten’s shutdown. The group led by Sophomore quarterback Luke McCaffrey’s father and former NFL wide receiver, Ed McCaffrey, flooded Twitter and the Big Ten with statements of outrage regarding the league’s decision.

President Donald Trump even spoke on the matter, stating, “Disgraceful that the Big Ten is not playing football. Let them PLAY!”

Despite all attempts to restore the season, Warren came out to say that the decision “will not be revisited” on August 19.

The decision to cancel the Big Ten football season went on to be revisited almost immediately after Warren’s statement. Now with new information about the safety of players, there was cause for a revote. September 13th, all big ten commissioners and chancellors came together to revote on the 2020-21 Big Ten football season.

Wisconsin Chancellor Rebecca Blank stated that, “Either all programs will play, or all won’t.”

After college football fans waited in anticipation all over the country for almost 36 hours, the Big Ten announced that there would be a 2020-2021 Big Ten football season. It was announced that the season would begin on October 24th and each Big Ten team would play out an eight game schedule, with a Big Ten championship game to follow.

The vote was primarily based on new information learned about coronavirus testing. All Big Ten teams will be able to carry out daily antigen testing. The tests are quick, reliable, and they give results almost immediately. Players will be able to take the tests before practice, games, class, or whenever the universities find necessary.

Northwestern team physician Dr. Jeff Mjaanes explained the effects of the antigen tests, stating that, “You’re catching someone with a positive before they’re even contagious.”

The Big ten revamping their season has led to other conferences, such as the Pac-12 and MAC conference to announce their return to football.

So with that first game in sight, Big Ten football teams like Nebraska can prepare themselves for their tasks ahead, and for the Cornhuskers, that’s Big Ten powerhouse and season restart ally Ohio State.

Following week one against Ohio State, the Cornhuskers will go on to face four more Top 25 teams in their eight game schedule. Fans have come out to say that the Big Ten intentionally put the odds against the Huskers after they had been so liberal in their fight against the Big Ten’s original decision.

Despite all he-said-she-saids, it feels good to have Big Ten football back. Even if the odds are stacked against the Cornhuskers, that’s just another reason for them to go out and prove everyone wrong. Nebraska was instrumental in the return of the Big ten and that cannot be denied.