Parents of student-athletes at Ohio State University and other schools held a protest outside the Big Ten’s headquarters in Indiana on Friday over its decision to postpone the college football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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The group chanted and held signs that said “Let them play” during the gathering organized by Randy Wade, the father of Ohio State defensive back and team captain Shaun Wade. The parents support a reversal of the Big Ten’s decision or a more detailed explanation from conference officials as to why they opted to cancel the season just days after releasing a schedule.
“We believe the game of football, the benefits of the game of football, far outweigh the risks, even with the pandemic on top of it,” one Ohio State parent told FOX Business Network’s Grady Trimble.
Two of the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences – the Big Ten and the Pac-12 – opted earlier this month postpone all fall sports, including football. Both conferences said they will attempt to reschedule fall play for the spring if possible.
The other three conferences – the SEC, ACC and Big 12 – are moving forward with plans to play.
Several Big Ten coaches, including Ohio State University head coach Ryan Day and Penn State University head coach James Franklin, publicly advocated for the season to occur as scheduled. Big Ten officials cited the potential health risks to student-athletes as the key factor in the decision to postpone.
In an open letter, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren stated the conference would not reverse course.
"The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts," Warren wrote. "Despite the decision to postpone fall sports, we continue our work to find a path forward that creates a healthy and safe environment for all Big Ten student-athletes to compete in the sports they love in a manner that helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protects both student-athletes and the surrounding communities."