Two Minnesota legislators have joined other lawmakers from states with Big Ten universities, asking the conference to overturn its decision to cancel fall sports.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, were two of 10 legislators signing a letter written by Michigan House of Representatives speaker Lee Chatfield. All are Republicans from six states — including Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The letter went to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren as well as all of the institutions’ presidents and chancellors.
The conference announced Aug. 11 it would cancel fall sports, potentially playing a delayed season in winter/spring 2021 amid COVID-19 concerns. The presidents and chancellors made the call, voting 11-3, with just Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State willing to play, per an ESPN report.
“The Big Ten’s current direction is the wrong choice for the conference, for our area universities, and — worst of all — for thousands of our local students,” Chatfield said in a statement, per the Detroit Free Press. “ … I know how important sports can be to young people and their development. I also know how much support restarting football and other fall sports has among players, coaches, parents, and the many people who have reached out to our offices demanding a change. The Big Ten should reverse course as soon as possible and do everything possible to help their students restart extracurricular activities safely.”
There has been notable pushback since the conference made its decision, with players, coaches and parents voicing their disappointment, some even filing a lawsuit. The Big Ten is reportedly considering several plans for a makeup season, anywhere from Oct. 10 to Thanksgiving to early January at indoor facilities.
The Pac-12 is also sitting out this fall, though the three other Power Five conferences are forging ahead with only slightly modified schedules.