Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren released an open letter to the public Wednesday night, making clear that the postponement of fall sports for 2020 will “not be revisited.” Soon after, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith released his own public statement hinting at disagreement with the Big Ten’s decision.
Smith said he and school president Kristina M. Johnson are “actively planning” on how to bring back falls sports, including football, in the winter or spring. He added he views the postponement as a “temporary delay,” not a cancellation.
“The Ohio State University is confident that we have the safety protocols and rigorous safeguards in place for our student-athletes to practice and return to competition immediately,” Smith wrote, in part, via Patrick Murphy of 247sports.com. “While a decision has been made by the presidents of the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall season, we view this as a temporary delay, and Dr. Johnson has directed us to prepare for the possibility of bringing at least some of our fall sports back to practice and competition by the end of the year. We are actively planning for the winter and spring seasons for all sports, including the return of football.
“As an athletics director at a Big Ten institution, I will always be respectful of our conference as it provides an outstanding platform for our student-athletes to pursue the championship experience. The health and safety of all our students, coaches and support staff is our highest priority. The conference has established the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force to develop plans for winter and spring competition models.”
The Pac-12 also has postponed fall sports, while the SEC, Big 12 and ACC still are preparing for a season. Thus, only three of the Power 5 conferences are planning to play this fall.