The Big Ten has finally provided the results of its vote to postpone the fall football season.
In a written response to the lawsuit filed Thursday by eight Nebraska football players against the conference, the Big Ten revealed that its university presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 in favor of postponing fall sports, according to multiple reports.
Big Ten presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 to postpone the fall college football season due to health and safety concerns tied to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a brief and two sworn affidavits filed by the league on Monday.
The details in the documents indicate that the conference now intends to provide some transparency to the players and the parents who have repeatedly called for it regarding the league’s decision-making process on the way to postponement, even while the Big Ten is seeking the dismissal of the relevant lawsuit filed last week by eight Nebraska football players. The league called the suit “a baseless complaint” in its filing on Monday.
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg reported that Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State were the three schools who voted against postponing fall sports.
Big Ten bylaws require at least 60 percent of university presidents and chancellors to vote in favor of postponing a season, which meant a minimum of nine votes was needed for the decision the conference made Aug. 11.
Until Monday, the Big Ten had declined to specify how the vote went, saying only that the presidents and chancellors “overwhelmingly voted to postpone the fall sports season based on medical concerns and in the best interest of the health and safety of our student-athletes.” Andrew Luger, the attorney who is defending the Big Ten, said during the initial hearing Thursday that “if the Big Ten can prove there was a vote, the whole case goes away,” according to Husker Online's Sean Callahan.
The Big Ten said in a statement on Thursday that the players' lawsuit “has no merit,” and said in another statement Monday that it is asking the lawsuit's motion for expedited discovery to be denied.
Statement from the Big Ten: pic.twitter.com/12j953OTl1— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) August 31, 2020
At a minimum, though, the lawsuit has already forced the conference to reveal information that it previously wished not to reveal while it could also lead to more of the transparency that parents from Ohio State, Nebraska and other schools have been demanding ever since the decision was announced.
According to Evan Bland of the Omaha World-Herald, attorneys for the Nebraska players planned to file their response to the Big Ten's brief on Tuesday morning.
Nebraska player attorneys indicated last week they would plan to file their response to the Big Ten's written statement Tuesday morning.— Evan Bland (@EvanBlandOWH) August 31, 2020
No matter what happens next, the lawsuit has already accomplished much of its objective (vote details, clarity on medical sources, etc.).