Big Ten coaches Ryan Day, James Franklin criticize conference’s decision on halting season
After a month of silence publicly, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day released a statement Thursday afternoon criticizing the lack of communication from the Big Ten about its decision to postpone the fall season and said the groundwork is in place for a possible start to the season in mid-October.
“While I understand the Big Ten Conference’s decision to postpone the football season because of health and safety considerations, the communication of information from the Big Ten following the decision has been disappointing and often unclear,” Day said. “However, we still have an opportunity to give our young men what they have worked so hard for: a chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall.
“I couldn’t possibly be prouder of how this team, our medical personnel, athletic director and president have stayed together and managed through this extremely difficult time with so many unanswered questions. The Big Ten medical subcommittee has done an excellent job of creating a safe pathway toward returning to play in mid-October.”
Ohio State coach Ryan Day watches his team during its game against Nebraska at Memorial Stadium. (Photo: Bruce Thorson, USA TODAY Sports)
Ohio State’s new president, Dr. Kristina Johnson, joined the Nebraska and Iowa presidents in voting against postponement of fall sports on Aug. 11 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Ten later revealed that its vote was 11-3 after eight Nebraska players filed a lawsuit against the conference.
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On its original schedule, Ohio State would be traveling to Oregon to play the Oregon Ducks this weekend. In the conference-only schedule the Big Ten announced only six days before canceling the fall season, the Buckeyes would have opened at Illinois a week ago.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 are the only power-five conferences not playing this fall. The Southeastern Conference, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Coast conferences will open their season this weekend.
“These young men and their parents have asked so many questions that I do not have the answer to, but the one that hurts the most is, “Why can these other teams and players play and we can’t?” Day said in his statement. “Duke is playing Notre Dame, and Clemson is playing Wake Forest this weekend.
“Our players want to know: Why can’t they play?”
Day wasn’t the only Big Ten coach to voice his frustration on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Penn State coach James Franklin spoke about on ESPN Radio’s Keyshawn, Zubin and JWill show.
“It’s been challenging, as you guys know,” Franklin said. “I think the big challenge as the head football coach is that your players and your parents think that you have all the answers to what’s going on, but the reality is, we’re dependent on the Big Ten to drive this thing forward. It’s been challenging. It truly has. In terms of where we’re at, I’m not really sure. I think that’s part of the problem.
“I’ve said this from the beginning: I don’t necessarily have an issue with the decision. I’ve got an issue with the process, and I got an issue with the timing. To be able to stand up in front of your team and parents and tell them that the season is canceled/postponed, but not have any answers as to how that affects their future and when we will be playing football and still haven’t a month later. That’s the hard part. It’s been really, really challenging.”
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