Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren Hints at Possibility of Playing Football Independent of Other Conferences
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren hinted at the possibility that the conference could play fall sports, primarily football, independent of the rest of the college football landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"Do you foresee a scenario where some [conferences] would come back and others would not?" Warren was asked by Big Ten Network host Dave Revsine.
"[Power Five commissioners] had a call this morning and I think what I had said, and I made it very clear even back to my press conference in June which seems like 10 years ago, is the fact that we will always be the Big Ten," Warren said. "And the Big Ten is the Big Ten for a certain reason.
“Which means we will always — to the best of our abilities — do what we feel is the right thing to do. Sometimes that may mean that we’re with a group. Sometimes that may mean that we do things from an independent standpoint. But I will always say that my goal is to make sure that we feel comfortable that we do the right thing and that we remember that we have a responsibility with our brand, with our universities.”
Warren's comments come on the heels of a similar statement by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey earlier in the week.
"The hope is [conferences] all move along together," Sankey said. "There is room for different conferences to make different decisions."
The Big Ten announced on Monday the continued suspension of all team related activities until at least June 1, Penn State University announced last week its intention to make a decision regarding the fall semester by at least June 15.
The Big Ten and SEC are both comprised of 11 states, all in varying stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example Pennsylvania has reported over 50,000 cases while Alabama nears 8,000 according to Johns Hopkins. These figures are a product of many different variables, but illustrate to difficultly in getting multiple towns, college campuses, states and regions in similar phases of reopening before play could begin.
Penn State has long stated that if it is not safe enough for fans to be in the stands, or students to be on campus, that it will not have student-athletes on campus or in the stadium either.
It is unknown at this time how each conference might go about scheduling its seasons, or various other logistical issues relative to practicing. The NCAA would also have to likely approve such a measure as well, but like all things, decisions and informations is changing on a near hourly basis.
“We will take the next six weeks to gather the information to make an informed and intelligent decision," Warren said.