Nebraska Football

Nebraska Would Play, But Can It? B1G Commissioner Declines to Say

August 11, 2020

The Big Ten became the first power conference to postpone fall sports on Tuesday with hopes of playing in the spring. The Mid-American Conference, which had a slew of big-money nonconference games nixed when the Big Ten made the move to conference-only games, was the first Group of 5 conference at the FBS level to pull the plug, doing so over the weekend, followed by the Mountain West on Monday. The Pac-12 made the same call Tuesday afternoon.

The wave of postponements came despite a late player- and coach-led push to save fall sports seasons, including one from Nebraska football coach Scott Frost on Monday.

“We’re committed to playing football at the University of Nebraska,” said Frost. “We’re a proud member of the Big Ten. I think it’s the best conference in the country. We want to play a Big Ten schedule. I think our university is committed to playing football regardless of what anyone else does.”

Now that sentiment will be presumably put the test.

First year Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren was asked specifically about Frost's comments on the Big Ten Network in his first public comments on the decision to postpone following the conference announcement.

"We have some of the best coaches, I believe from a conference standpoint, in all of college football and they are passionate," Warren said. "The reason why they are great coaches is because they have great passion, they work hard and they are intelligent. I understand that. I know there were many statements that were made yesterday, there were many interviews that were done yesterday and I'm sure there are going to be many other statements that are made today and in the future. I just take those statements as really a point of passion and supporting and representing their student athletes, so I understand that. But as I sit here today, again we have 14 institutions in the Big Ten Conference and we've been together. I plan for us to continue to be together and work collectively to make sure that we're doing everything that we possibly can to keep our conference strong, we keep our conference very strong academically and also very strong athletically.

"I understand the passion. I understand the many things that have been said and I can expect the many things that will be said. I'm proud to be in the Big Ten. It's been a challenging year so far for many people on multiple levels, but I just want people to know that we're doing what we believe at this point in time is in the best interests of our student athletes and that is their mental, their physical and their emotional health, safety and wellness."

Passion aside, not all of the official statements from Big Ten schools struck the same tone.

Nebraska's statement, co-signed by President Ted Carter, Chancellor Ronnie Green, Athletic Director Bill Moos and Frost, opened with: "We are very disappointed in the decision by the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall football season, as we have been and continue to be ready to play."

A statement from Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour began with: "We support the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall sports."

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said, in part: “Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete. They have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity, and I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.”

Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith, in a joint statement with President-elect Kristina Johnson, noted that the Buckeyes' leadership was "totally aligned in our efforts to delay the start of the season rather than postpone."

Warren, during the television interview, declined to get into specifics of how individual schools may or may not have voted for the postponement or even if there was a vote.

BTN host Dave Revsine pressed Warren specifically on the possibility of a school choosing to play elsewhere asking: "Were Nebraska or anyone else to say they're going to play elsewhere could they do it?"

"I know what was said," Warren replied. "These are things that I'm sure there will be a lot of other issues that will arise or be raised that we'll address at the appropriate time. Today is not the appropriate day to do that. There are no games today."

You can view Warren's complete responses to the Nebraska line of questioning below.

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