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Penn State Athletics: Barbour Doesn't See Big Ten Reversing Decision Amid Outcry and Confusion Over Process

by on August 17, 2020 4:55 PM

While players, parents and fans have loudly advocated for the Big Ten to reverse course and play a previously scheduled fall football season, Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour doesn't see that unfolding.

"The presidents and chancellors made their major decision based on science, based on the information from medical experts and based on  concerns and uncertainty in a number of different categories," Barbour told reporters on Monday afternoon.

"I don't see that changing."

Over the past several days, parents and players from across the conference have vocally supported the reversal of last Tuesday's decision by the Big Ten to cancel the fall sports season. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren was vague, at best, during an interview on the Big Ten Network about many of the motivations behind the cancelation beyond general health and safety platitudes.

In turn parents and players alike have called for more clarity, something only made more hazy as Barbour spoke of the process the Big Ten used, or rather didn't use, to make its eventual decision. According to Barbour, she is unaware of any official vote that finalized the cancelation, something of a stunning — or at least unexpected — revelation.

"I know that every chancellor and president moved forward and told their athletic directors that, that was the decision," Barbour said. "It is unclear to me whether there was a vote. Nobody's ever told me that there was. I just don't know whether there actually was a vote by the chancellors and presidents.

"For five months, Penn State's collective efforts have been the fight for a plan, have been the fight for playing sports this year. Frankly, it's been to fight for, and to play for, having students on campus this fall. Dr. Barron has fought. Our board has fought. Every one of our coaches has fought, and I have fought.

"I want to play. Our board wants to play, and you're fully aware that our coaches and student-athletes and their families want to play, but it's never been about playing at all costs or under any circumstances. We all want to play, and we have turned our attention to what the next opportunity might be to play our fall sports, and we're working to make sure that we do everything we can to improve the circumstances under which we might play."

As of now no official plans are in place or even loosely established for football in the spring and current and former coaches seem uncertain as to the viability of a spring season.

Barbour stated that she supported spring football and thinks it is a viable avenue moving forward.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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