Despite a claim by Nebraska president Ted Carter that an announcement from the Big Ten was coming Tuesday night, no such announcement has been made yet.
In a private conversation before a press conference picked up by a hot mic, Carter – the president of the University of Nebraska system – seemingly revealed that the Big Ten was set to announce its plans for a fall football season on Tuesday night.
"We're getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight," Carter told Bob Hinson, director of the National Strategic Research Institute, according to KETV Newswatch 7. “It's a good move in the right direction.”
The Big Ten presidents and chancellors reportedly met for a multihour-long meeting on Sunday where they heard from various subcommittees, but no vote was taken and one was not expected until early this week.
After a quiet Monday with no updates or substantiative reports, Carter's slip-up was an indicator that word might finally be on its way, though Carter – who is not actually the voting president for Nebraska, as chancellor Ronnie Green handles that – claimed his comments were heard out of context when he was asked about them later.
“All I said is there's work going on, and I remain cautiously optimistic like everybody else that we'll get to discovering when it's safe to play,” Carter told KLKN's Yousef Nasser.
University of Nebraska president Ted Carter was heard on hot mic saying that an announcement will come tonight regarding the #Huskers and the #BigTen football season.— Yousef Nasser (@YousefKLKN) September 15, 2020
I asked him about the comments. He says they were taken out of context. pic.twitter.com/SP0x5ZqCtF
As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, there hadn't been yet any announcement from the Big Ten. Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday afternoon that a proposal has been approved for the conference to start its season in October and play eight games in a nine-week window, with the Big Ten Championship Game tentatively set for Dec. 19. But Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reported Tuesday evening that Big Ten coaches had not yet received any official word about a season restart, and Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde reported there was “no indication” announcement would come Tuesday night.
No official word about a Big Ten restart has trickled down to Big Ten coaches. Many programs have been proceeding/planning the past few days for an Oct. 17 start, pending the upcoming vote/decision. There remains a lot of hope and optimism. But no official green light, yet.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) September 15, 2020
No indication there will be an official B1G announcement tonight. Put Nebraska president alongside the yacht guy in the Unreliable Newsbreak Dept. Expectation remains that there will be a fall season, but nothing yet formalized. Vigil reconvenes in the morning.— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) September 15, 2020
Tony Paul of the Detroit News reported Tuesday night that the Big Ten could be waiting to make an announcement until it finalizes a contract with a rapid testing company, as Paul also reported that the conference would prefer to secure tests through a lab or healthcare company rather than the White House.
Dont be surprised if the Big Ten is waiting to sign a deal with a lab or health-care company to secure the rapid tests before making the official announcement.— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) September 15, 2020
They were blasted for not having their ducks in a row last time.
They should this time.
Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank declined to say whether the Big Ten had made a decision on if and when to play this fall during her testimony at a congressional hearing on name, image and likeness on Tuesday, but she did indicate that the season had been postponed due to concerns about testing, contract tracing and myocarditis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that restarting the season was contingent on having answers to those questions that they didn't have a month ago.
“We were uncertain that we could do the level of testing and contact tracing that we needed to keep athletes safe,” Blank said. “Secondly, there was this growing evidence of heart-related myocarditis, and that evidence was uncertain and it wasn’t clear what it meant. We wanted to know more. There were a few other, more minor reasons, but until we have answers to that, we will keep our season postponed. Once we have answers to that, to some of those issues and things that we have ways to deal them effectively, we will try to plan a delayed season.
“You’re going to have to let the Big Ten make that announcement, when and if such a decision is made. When such a decision happens, your first question should be, ‘What’s changed?’ Hopefully we will have answers to exactly the issues that I just raised.”
Blank also indicated during her testimony that despite the 11-3 vote the Big Ten says took place to postpone the fall season last month, the presidents and chancellors typically don't actually take formal votes on conference decisions.
“I can’t say what the vote is going to look like. Decisions within the Big Ten are largely majority-based decisions. But I’ll be honest, we almost always decide everything by consensus, we very rarely take votes,” Blank said.
Ahead of any announcement that might come this week, Ohio State has made it clear that it hopes for a mid-October start to the Big Ten season.
Ryan Day put out a statement on Thursday to call a mid-October start to season, saying that the Big Ten's medical subcommittee “has done an excellent job of creating a safe pathway toward returning to play in mid-October.”
Day reiterated his hope to start the season by the middle of October on Saturday's College GameDay show on ESPN, which is important because it is the latest the conference can start play for its teams to have a chance to earn a College Football Playoff berth.