News

'Let Us Play!': Big Ten Parents Push Back Against Decision To Ax Football Season

Combined Shape

Parents of Big Ten football players, upset over the process that led to the cancellation of the fall season, held a protest near the conference’s Chicago-area headquarters on Friday while an attorney in Nebraska demanded Commissioner Kevin Warren turn over material detailing how the decision was made.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Aug. 11 that health and safety concerns led them to shut down football this fall.

The other three major conferences, the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern, are planning to play.

Groups of player parents from several Big Ten schools have complained that Warren was not forthcoming in explaining the process that led to the Big Ten’s decision.

“We’ve got a voice. We want to use it,” Jay Kallenberger, father of Iowa offensive lineman Mark Kallenberger, said.

Trending:
Report: Bidens Aggressively Dodged More Than $500,000 in Taxes Before Joe Demanded Americans Pay Their 'Fair Share'

“Our kids may not be comfortable speaking out or the programs may say, ‘Hey, just sit back, there’s not a lot you can say right now.’ Transparency, that’s what we want.”

Randy Wade, father of Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade, organized the protest in suburban Rosemont.

About two dozen parents representing Iowa, Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin showed up. A few carried “Let Them Play” signs and the group chanted, “Let us play!”

The protest started with a moment of silence to recognize the Americans who have died from COVID-19.

Do you think the Big Ten should have canceled its fall football season?

“We do respect there’s a pandemic out here,” Wade said.

Wade called on Warren to set up a videoconference with parents and athletic directors to discuss in detail how the decision was reached.

Kallenberger said the parents also want Warren to provide clarity on whether there was a vote of presidents and, if so, how each school voted.

Warren wrote in a letter this week that a presidents’ vote “was overwhelmingly in support of postponing fall sports and will not be revisited.”

However, Minnesota president Joan Gabel said last week, “We didn’t vote, per se. It’s a deliberative process where we came to a decision together.”

Related:
Tim Tebow Is Reportedly Returning to the NFL

Attorney Mike Flood of Norfolk, Nebraska, in a letter sent to Warren on Friday, threatened a federal lawsuit if documents and other materials related to the decision aren’t turned over by Monday.

Flood, a former speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, said he represents the parents of 11 Cornhuskers players. Flood is also the owner of Flood Communications, which operates eight radio stations in the state, five of which broadcast football games as part of the Husker Sports Network.

Flood’s letter pointed out that Warren’s son is preparing to play this season in the SEC.

“It is especially troubling that you have made the decision that it is in your son’s best interest to play football this season at Mississippi State,” Flood wrote, “yet you have taken that decision out of the hands of our clients.”

Flood is asking the conference to produce documents relating to any votes taken, how each school voted, meeting minutes and all recordings and transcripts of meetings in which votes were cast. He also wants copies of studies, scientific data and medical information or advice considered by the presidents.

“One of the parents, and I think she speaks for most of them, says, ‘Nobody loves their kids more than we do. Nobody wants to see them safe more than we do. But what is it that the Big Ten has that has compelled them to do this compared to the other conferences that are planning to play?’ We’d like to know,” Flood said.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →






We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
Combined Shape
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation