A few days after eight Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Lancaster County against the Big Ten Conference over the decision to postpone fall sports, some information behind the decision is now known.
According to multiple reports, conference presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to postpone the fall college football season per a brief and two sworn affidavits that were filed by the Big Ten on Monday. Per The Athletic, the two sworn affidavits were signed by Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and Northwestern president Morton Schapiro, the chairman of the league’s council of presidents and chancellors.
Multiple reports also shared that Nebraska, Ohio State and Iowa were the three schools that voted against postponing the fall season.
The suit brought forward by the eight Nebraska players sought an injunctive order that would nullify the league’s decision to postpone football. The lawsuit specifically raised three counts against the Big Ten Conference: wrongful interference with business expectations, breach of contract and declaratory judgment. In reference to the last count, the lawsuit called into question whether or not the Big Ten did actually vote on a decision to postpone the season. Parents for 11 of the 14 Big Ten programs had previously asked to see proof of the vote, citing inconsistency in comments by various conference presidents. The lawsuit from the Nebraska players claimed the Big Ten’s potential non-vote (or at least not producing record of it) violates its governing documents.
A number of conflicting reports ultimately added to the confusion prior to the Nebraska players’ lawsuit. While Minnesota president Joan Gabel said that the conference “didn’t vote per se” and Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said it was unclear if a vote had taken place, Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green confirmed one had taken place. In a letter dated Aug. 18, Warren confirmed the vote as well and said it was “overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited.” However, Warren did not provide further details and said the decision would not be revisted.
The Big Ten called the suit “a baseless complaint” in its filing on Monday, having originally said "the entire case goes away" if the conference could produce the results of the vote. A few days later, the Big Ten has done at least that.
Big Ten statement: pic.twitter.com/Dg4xJDlKOO
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 31, 2020
Nine games involving at least one FBS school are scheduled for the week ahead as college football forges ahead in some conferences. Alabama-Birmingham will be the first FBS school to play in 2020 with a Thursday game against Central Arkansas, which beat Austin Peay in the first FCS game of the season on Saturday.