Five Reasons Why the Big Ten Did What the Pac-12 Couldn’t

With the news finally official about the Big Ten’s return, here are five reasons why the conference reversed course and came back.

Pete Thamel (Yahoo Sports)  —  

1. Medical knowledge

The Big Ten’s messaging is centered around safer health protocols and better information than was available a month ago. When the Big Ten decided to re-message its initial decision eight days after postponing the season, commissioner Kevin Warren mentioned in a letter numerous medical reasons. In that Aug. 19 letter, he cited “transmission rates,” “contact tracing” and “limited” access to accurate, daily rapid testing. In regards to cardiomyopathy, the letter said that “the uncertain risk was unacceptable at this time.”

Nearly a month later, there are some clear answers. The Big Ten will have access to daily rapid testing. That’s essentially allowed the NFL to start the season without significant COVID-19 issues. And the medical presentation to a group of eight presidents/chancellors on Saturday and all 14 members of the COPC on Sunday addressed questions about heart issues like myocarditis that were being asked a month ago.

2. Outside pressure

No one in the Big Ten office will dare say this out loud, but the league felt myriad pressures to return. None of those pressures were bigger than the ACC and Big 12 starting their seasons and the SEC appearing poised to start its season on Sept. 26. The ACC even played in the Big Ten’s footprint on Saturday, with new ACC member Notre Dame hosting Duke in South Bend.

The visceral pressure of being left behind was felt throughout the league. Coaches worried about the long-term impact in recruiting. The lack of television money put tremendous pressure on athletic departments, who are still facing deep cuts even with the television revenue from playing.

There was fan outrage, parental picketing, irate players, lawsuits and political noise. But none of that would have been truly amplified without games being played, scheduled and happening from noon until midnight on Saturday. Seeing it done made it possible for it to be done in the Big Ten.

3. Ohio State/Penn State/Michigan

A league is only as good as its best members. And the biggest brands in the Big Ten had the loudest — and most meaningful — objections to the season being canceled. Ryan Day released a powerful statement summing up weeks of unrest from Ohio State: “Our players want to know: Why can’t they play?”

Penn State’s James Franklin and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh also publicly criticized the league. Franklin had a direct message in a radio interview, calling the communication “disappointing and often unclear.” Harbaugh took part in a march with his players, and his brother John Harbaugh, the Baltimore Ravens coach, even criticized the league.

This type of internal tumult rarely existed in the Big Ten’s history. And the public actions of the league’s top coaches and brands certainly made an impact. While Nebraska complained the loudest of the Big Ten schools, it was the push from the league’s wheelhouse programs — both the coaches and administrators — that prompted this reversal.

4. Leadership reversal

Warren has been on the job less than a year. And he’s made some high-profile mistakes. He alienated the other Power Five commissioners by not telling them of his conference-only plan earlier this summer.

The inability to preach a patient plan to his presidents, five of whom are nearly as new as Warren, ultimately put him in this situation. Having the foresight to pause or push back the start date when the Big Ten made the decision to postpone could have allowed the league to avoid its public flailing the past few weeks. Instead of patience, the Big Ten went first. And that clearly backfired.

Warren doubled down on the decision eight days later, as he said in the open letter that the Big Ten decision “will not be revisited.”

Not only was it revisited, it was reversed. For Warren, that’s the most significant news of his brief tenure. The past few weeks, he’s earned a reputation as the biggest liability among the Power Five commissioners as his inexperience in navigating the different layers of collegiate leadership was exposed. From the coach to the athletic department to the presidential level, Warren’s handling of the initial decision, including poor communication between the groups, was widely second-guessed throughout the league.

While Warren has a ways to go politically with league members, this decision dulls some of the unprecedented heat and criticism he was under from Big Ten coaches, administrators and members.

5. Full season, more cash

It’s remarkable that the Big Ten reversal comes just in time for the league to still participate in the full college football season. It’s widely believed around the league that the Big Ten will still be able to play both its lucrative conference title game and still be considered for the College Football Playoff.

This proved a huge motivator for those who helped will this reversal, as the elite teams — Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan — used this carrot as a way to keep many of the top players like OSU’s Justin Fields, Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth and Michigan’s Kwity Paye from declaring for the NFL draft. If the Big Ten had played in the spring, as it originally planned, it’s unlikely that those stars and many others would have played this season.

The preservation is also a financial boon for the Big Ten, which has programs looking at tens of millions in losses this season. (Ticket revenue is worth nearly $60 million at a school like Ohio State.) The Big Ten reportedly received $66 million in payouts from the College Football Playoff last year, which equates to more than $4.5 million per schools.

Yahoo Sports

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usc50
Active Member
September 17, 2020 12:14 pm

At that time both the Big 10 and PAC12 made the right decision to postpone season.

But now times are different with cases declining and a vaccine in sight.
And the professional sports are showing a good model to follow.

Follow the NBA, MLB steps and it will work out.

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:30 pm
Reply to  usc50

usc50. Glad you posted your view, but, as I probably far too frequently posted, t I see it totally differently. But what difference does it make? the Pac is now moving (a) to fix its mistake (my view) or (b) to take advantage of new information (your view), but, no matter the reason, it is now moving to have a season. Let’s wish them well and hope the kids at SC actually get to practice and to play.

gametv
Active Member
September 17, 2020 8:50 am

The new dean of Marshall School is going to be interviewing Pete Carroll on leadership. Here is a link to register for any interested. I think it will be fascinating.

https://www.marshall.usc.edu/marshall-webinar-series

Interesting that he didnt interview Clay Helton for this???

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:17 pm
Reply to  gametv

The much-awaited interview from Hugs Helton on “How to Become Rich by Failing Upward,” will be filmed at the USC School of Education and become mandatory viewing for all USC students. Includes a lengthy introduction from President Carol “Karl Marx” Folt discussing how Coach Helton has quickly gotten his mind right on the subject of Toxic Masculinity. Little Foltie will also be highlighting her upcoming lecture series for the Replacement Trojan Clubs entitled, “From Von KleinSmid to Trump: It’s Always been the White Man’s Fault.” Attending this seminar will be a requirement to receive season tickets for the 2021 football… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:33 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

Love it!! I still think Folt is close the Mao than Marx. Marx was incompetent politically; Mao was not astute as Marx intellectually, but he was far more astute politically and ruthless in that arena. I see a lot of Mao in our present President, not much Marx.

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:40 pm
Reply to  TrojanRJJ

To-MAY-toe, to-MAH-toe…. Let us not split hairs, RJJ, when it comes to comparative analogies of commie thugs.😁

volunteerTrojan
Active Member
September 17, 2020 6:10 am

LA Times reporting Bohn and UCLA AD jointly met with LA county and city officials to discuss opening practices.

https://www-latimes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-09-16/usc-ucla-team-up-revive-hopes-for-fall-college-football-season?_amp=true

RialtoTrojan
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 8:52 pm

😍 Fight on (I hope) my family just voted to opt out of our Thanksgiving trip… hopefully there’ll be something good to watch that weekend.

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 6:09 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Are they going to practice with 12 players at a time?

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:35 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

You know what I think of our President Madame Mao! If nothing else, she is astute politically and will simply beat a strategic retreat and allow Bohn to take the political heat. Mike needs now to take over the leadership of the Pac on this issue and force Larry Scott to follow.

danielmcd1
Active Member
September 17, 2020 1:05 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Hi Allen and Trojan fans, All the Pac 12 schools should target October 31, 2020 at the latest as the beginning and first conference game day for all 12 schools. If we play by that date if not sooner we can have 8 games played by December 19, 2020. Hopefully any players who wanted to opt-out will opt back in, get their game experience in for the next year’s NFL camps and draft for those players that would be eligible. 8 games would be a descent season considering everything that has taken place. USC should play the 5 south schools,… Read more »

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 4:07 pm

Just a side note. Entering the 3rd week, The Tour de France, a rolling circus of 800+ people through France, tested everybody Monday, and had no positive tests. If you can run the Tour you can play football.

Last edited 2 days ago by Golden Trojan
HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 4:09 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

You would think .

HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 3:53 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Things are moving (in the right direction I hope ) !

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 3:04 pm

So again, let’s go back to, How can the Rams, Chargers and 49rs practice and play? If the Pac12 follows the NFL procedures why can’t they play? These are some of the best universities in the world? C’MON😫

gametv
Active Member
September 16, 2020 2:58 pm

Dont anyone fall for the lies of Newsome. The state guidelines restrict cohorts of more than 12 people, so it eliminates the ability to have a football practice.

I hope everyone signs the recall petition on this joke of a Governor.

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 2:38 pm

“A league is only as good as its best members.” Never has a truer statement been made. It is quite clear that the Big 10 Commissioner is as big a buffoon as Larry Scott (and he is now clearly in serious trouble). But, MI, NE, tOSU and PSU all moved quickly to play when it was clear that they had made a huge mistake, despite the buffoon in charge of the conference. The only school in the Pac at that level is candidly SC and we know what we got from our present leadership on this issue. I would love… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 2:43 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

That is extraordinarily embarrassing, if true. I would not trust Newsome. It is possible that SC has so mangled its interpretation of the guidelines as to prevent any realistic practice? I find that hard to believe. And, remember, SC also has LA City and County guidelines to deal with at this time. And, why would the kids send the letter if they did not think it was so? Someone told them it was Newsome. Newsome, obviously, wanted nothing to do with this – it was a huge no win for him. On the SC front, I repeat, the lack of… Read more »

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 2:53 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Allen, This is extremely misleading. I just read Newsome’s comments. Practices are limited only to 12 players at a time. So, if I am reading Newsome correctly, you cannot practice, but you can play. That is just plain nonsense.

TrojanRJJ
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 6:08 pm
Reply to  Allen Wallace

Given Newsome and the CA cities and counties, I really do not know how the Pac is going to be able to play in 2020. Oregon evidently got its stuff together. But, despite how much I like Bohn, he has messed up big time. He had to get an audience with Newsome and explain that college football actually requires at least 50 players at once to practice to be able to play. Unless the Pac will play without the CA teams, I do not see how the Pac can have a season. I am so happy I moved to TX… Read more »

HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 1:36 pm

This LA Area reporter passed this on from Newsom >>>>>>>When he pressed on this again…he was even more clear:

He says the Pac 12 can re-open football now…its up to them. Nothing in his guidelines stop them from playing.

HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 1:37 pm
Reply to  HOF19

Mr. Gavin Newsom says we can play football .

gametv
Active Member
September 16, 2020 3:00 pm
Reply to  HOF19

Gavin speaks with forked tongue.

There is clearly a guideline that prevents cohorts greater than 12 people, so they either need to give a waiver to the Pac-12, or practices are still not allowed under this rule.

But it looks like the Pac-12 can now hold Gavin to his words. I wonder if Gavin even understands what a football practice looks like, or how many people are on a team?

HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 1:32 pm

While my other comment awaits for approval is not Mr Gavin Newsom the California Governor (Again I live on East Coast )… and he is saying their is nothing in the guidelines preventing the playing of college football …….What gives here ????????????

HOF19
Noble Member
September 16, 2020 1:28 pm

Some political news-person in the LA Area … (one Elex Michaelson ) in interview with Gavin Newsom posted a response to a question asked …….Media in my area (East Coast but are very interested in will PAC-12 play ) are copy-and-pasting Mr.Newsome’s response in their twitter accounts …..Mr Gavin Newsom’s response >>>>>>>(from Michaelson’s twitter ) GavinNewsom is asked about @USC_Athletics ‘ football players’ letter to him…asking to be allowed to begin their season? “There’s nothing in the guidelines deny the ability of the Pac 12 to resume [football games].” Says he’s negotiated with the NCAA & Pac 12 on this… Read more »

UtahTrojan
Knighted Member
September 16, 2020 1:00 pm

And the PAC continues to sit on their hands, all by themselves. We have a governor that will not allow schools to have meaningful practices while high ranking officials in the state freely break the rules. Is it any wonder I left CA.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
September 16, 2020 1:10 pm
Reply to  UtahTrojan

And 2/3 of Californians continue to vote for these corrupt clowns.

Jamaica
Knighted Member
September 16, 2020 3:46 pm
Reply to  Golden Trojan

The one’s receiving free entitlements certainly do!

ATL D.D.S.
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 9:05 am
Reply to  Golden Trojan

This is what happens when you have one-party rule. The upcoming national election will have ramifications for generations if the Dem-Marxists win 3 branches of govt, they will do their best to eliminate all future competition and make the Nation one-party rule. Because things are going so well in California and New York and Illinois.

Golden Trojan
Diamond Member
September 17, 2020 12:57 pm
Reply to  ATL D.D.S.

It is amazing how many people in these states just don’t see the bad governance going on. Sticking with one party no matter how incompetent they are.