President Trump is urging the Big Ten to put its football teams back on the field, but the conference says it continues to be guided by concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump, who has said he wants college football to be played in the fall, set up a call with the Big Ten, which has postponed its 2020 season indefinitely.
“A White House representative reached out to Big Ten Conference Commissioner Kevin Warren on Monday, August 31, 2020 to facilitate a phone call between President Donald J. Trump and Commissioner Warren. On Tuesday, September 1, 2020 Commissioner Warren and the President had a productive conversation,” the Big Ten’s statement said. “The Big Ten Conference and its Return to Competition Task Force, on behalf of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) are exhausting every resource to help student-athletes get back to playing the sports they love, at the appropriate time, in the safest and healthiest way possible.”
Trump characterized the conversation somewhat differently, seeming more optimistic about the chances of starting the football season soon.
“Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Would be good (great!) for everyone – Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!”
The Big Ten indicated that 11 of its 14 schools agreed with the decision not to play in the fall, and that the other three are willing to go along with it. The conference doesn’t seem eager to put its players back on the field, no matter what the president wants.