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Nebraska Football

NU Chief of Staff Makes Case for Football Amid Cancellation Reports

August 10, 2020
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Amid multiple reports that the Big Ten was close to canceling its football season Nebraska football’s Chief of Staff, Gerrod Lambrecht, shared a statement on Twitter with the hashtag “Let Them Play,” saying: “The health, safety, (and) well-being of our student-athletes continues to be paramount in our decision making. What I believe is not being fully considered are the deep ranging, long term impacts of not playing college football this fall.”

Forty-five minutes prior to Lambrecht’s tweet, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh shared similar sentiments along with numbers from the Wolverines’ testing thus far.

Such statements were prompted by a Monday morning report that the Big Ten conference had opted to cancel the 2020 football season. First reported by the Detroit Free Press’ Chris Solari, Big Ten presidents were said to have voted Sunday night 12-2 in favor of canceling fall sports in the conference. 

“The Big Ten has voted to cancel the 2020 college football season in a historic move that stems from concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, multiple people with knowledge of the decision confirmed to the Free Press,” the report stated.

On the Dan Patrick Show Monday morning, Patrick reported that Iowa and Nebraska were the only two schools whose presidents voted in favor of continuing ahead with the plan to play in the fall. 

A spokesman for the conference later denied such a vote had taken place.

Graham Couch, a columnist at the Lansing State Journal, later reported that vote was schedule for Monday evening.

If the league were to move ahead with canceling the season, the Big Ten, under the stewardship of first-year commissioner Kevin Warren, would become the first Power Five league to punt on its season. According to multiple reports, a regularly-scheduled meeting of the league commissioners took place Sunday in which they discussed options but made no formal decisions. 

In early July, Warren and the Big Ten were first to break ranks and formally ditch non-conference football games for the fall. It has been reported Warren is in favor of a spring season.

AL.com’s John Talty reported Monday morning that the SEC and ACC are “most aligned” and that the Big 12 conference might be the lynchpin. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel said the Big 12 remains “divided” on whether or not it will proceed with a season. The Pac-12 is expected to follow the Big Ten’s lead.

On Saturday, on the heels of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) becoming the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference to cancel its season, the Big Ten announced that its member institutions were required to remain in the “acclimatization period” of fall camp. Effectively, teams would remain in helmet-only drills rather than moving to full padded practices as is normally the case on the third day of fall camp.

“Each new phase of activity provides new intelligence and experience and allows us to evaluate the implementation of our Conference and institutional medical protocols in real-time,” the league said in a statement. “In order to make the right health and safety decisions for our student-athletes, we believe it is best to continue in the appropriate phase of activity referenced above while we digest and share information from each campus to ensure we are moving forward cautiously.

“We understand there are many questions regarding how this impacts schedules, as well as the feasibility of proceeding forward with the season at all. As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.”

Nebraska, as of 11 a.m. CT, was still on the practice field. 

The state’s governor, Pete Ricketts, said Monday morning he’s in favor of college football in the fall: “It’s absolutely something we can do here in Nebraska.”

Sunday night, college football players from around the country mounted what appeared to be a last-ditch campaign in the hopes of keeping the 2020 season from being derailed. 

From Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the ACC to Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in the Big Ten to Alabama running back Najee Harris in the SEC, players voiced strong support for playing a season. They all shared the same message, with the hashtag “We Want to Play.”

That matched what a number of Husker football players said last Wednesday when the Big Ten announced its tentative schedule. From Adrian Martinez to Garrett Nelson, Huskers expressed support of the protocols in place at Nebraska and the precautions being taken with regard to their health.

In a letter sent to season ticket holders this past week, Husker Athletic Director Bill Moos wrote the athletic department was bracing for a revenue shortfall of anywhere from $40 to $100 million. He had previously stated a typical slate of home football games in a season generates upwards of $200 million in revenue for the city of Lincoln. The financial ramifications of a lost fall football season are potentially wide-ranging. 

 
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