President Trump demanded Friday that the Big Ten and other college athletic conferences play football this fall, weeks after some conferences postponed their seasons out of concern related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“No, I want Big Ten, and all other football, back – NOW,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The Dems don’t want football back, for political reasons, but are trying to blame me and the Republicans. Another LIE, but this is what we are up against! They should also open up all of their Shutdown States.”
Two of the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences – the Big Ten and the Pac-12 – postponed their fall sports seasons, including football, in August. Collegiate officials have expressed concern about the potential health risks for student-athletes.
The remaining Power Five conferences – the ACC, Big 12 and SEC – are moving forward with plans to play their college football seasons this fall as scheduled.
The Big Ten’s decision drew a mixed response, with some praising conference officials for being cautious and others, including Trump and several prominent college football coaches, arguing the postponement would do more harm than good. A group of eight University of Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten this week in a bid to compel them to reverse the decision.
Trump expressed support when Clemson University quarterback Trevor Lawrence and other student-athletes called for the season to proceed. On Aug. 11, Trump tweeted that cancellation would be a “tragic mistake.”
After initially stating that their decision was final, Big Ten officials may be reconsidering the postponement. ESPN reported the conference is mulling whether to begin a shortened football schedule around Thanksgiving or in early January.