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Timeline of events leading to Big Ten's decision to play football this fall

Timeline of events leading to Big Ten's decision to play football this fall


There were tons of twists along the way to the Big Ten's decision to reverse course and play football this fall.

So here's a helpful timeline detailing all the notable events that happened between Aug. 11 — the day the league decided to postpone — to today's decision to move forward.

* * *

Aug. 10: With the Big Ten season seemingly teetering on the edge, NU football coach Scott Frost held a press conference — Husker football players Adrian Martinez, Dicaprio Bootle and Matt Farniok also spoke — and passionately advocated for playing football in the fall, contending that players are safer within the structure of the program. “If we cancel football tomorrow, we’re throwing up a white flag and saying this can’t be done,” Frost said.

Aug. 11: Despite the public pressure to proceed with the season, the Big Ten presidents voted to postpone all fall sports, including football, with hopes of playing in the spring. Nebraska President Ted Carter, Chancellor Ronnie Green, Athletic Director Bill Moos and Scott Frost released a joint statement after the decision was announced saying they were "very disappointed" and would still explore options to play this fall. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said later any team that pursued its own schedule would not be allowed to stay in the conference.

Aug. 13: Amid criticism from national media personalities and speculation that Nebraska wanted to leave the Big Ten, Ted Carter and Ronnie Green released another statement reaffirming their commitment to the conference. Bill Moos said later on the radio, "We like the Big Ten, we're going to compete in the Big Ten and be successful in the Big Ten."

Aug. 16: The parents of 81 Husker football players crafted a letter to Kevin Warren seeking better answers about the league's postponement.

Aug. 19: As questions and criticisms remained, Kevin Warren released a letter in which he said a vote did actually take place to postpone the season and that decision would not be revisited. "The decision was thorough and deliberative, and based on sound feedback, guidance and advice from medical experts," he wrote.

Aug. 20: That group of Husker parents wrote another letter to Kevin Warren, this time threatening legal action if its demands for more transparency were not met.

Aug. 21: Nebraska announced that 51 staff members within the athletic department would be furloughed from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, and all other staffers would take a 10% salary reduction during that same period.

Aug. 27: Eight Nebraska football players filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten seeking a reversal of the league's decision to postpone the fall season. The players claimed the Big Ten's decision should be overturned because it was based on flawed medical information and the league didn't follow its own bylaws and procedures. In a response, the Big Ten said the "lawsuit has no merit."

Aug. 31: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts waded into the discourse saying the Big Ten "made a mistake" with its decision. "I would certainly encourage the Big Ten to reexamine what they're doing because they're penalizing a lot of folks here." Later that day, in a response to the Husker players' lawsuit, the Big Ten revealed that there was an actual vote by presidents and chancellors to postpone the season, coming 11-3 in favor of doing so. Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State were the dissenting votes.

Sept. 1: President Donald Trump spoke with Kevin Warren to encourage the league to play football this fall. That conversation came days after Trump's opponent in the upcoming election, Joe Biden, released an ad criticizing Trump's response to the pandemic, suggesting that as a reason sports are on hold in Big Ten states.

Sept. 2: A Lancaster Country District Court judge ruled that the Big Ten must disclose additional information within the next 10 days related to its decision to postpone fall sports.

Sept. 5: This was supposed to be the Husker football team's season opener. Instead, they were still sidelined. "It feels a little empty," Scott Frost said. "Just like the stadium." Elsewhere in the country, there were nine games involving FBS teams played from Sept. 3-7.

Sept. 9: As a group of Nebraska lawmakers write a letter encouraging the Big Ten to play — like their peers from other states did the day before — Ted Carter said during a radio interview on KLIN that another vote to start the season could happen "very soon."

Sept. 10: A motion to dismiss hearing in the Husker players' lawsuit against the Big Ten is scheduled for Sept. 25. Later that day, The World-Herald reported that Nebraska had secured 1,200 test kids through a partnership with UNMC that would make it possible to test teams before a game and get rapid results. 

Sept. 11: Nebraska's attorney general writes a letter to the Big Ten suggesting the conference may have violated the state's Nonprofit Corporation Act. "It is imperative that the organization operate with complete transparency regarding its decision-making process."

Sept. 12: Major college football begins in earnest with teams from the Big 12 and ACC opening their seasons.

Sept. 13: The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors met to hear the latest presentation from the league's medical experts. Reports indicated that another vote on the fate of the season could take place within the next couple days.

Sept. 16: The Big Ten votes to play football this fall with a target start date of Oct. 24.

Sept. 19: The Big Ten released the new schedule, featuring eight set games, followed by a “plus one” on Dec. 19 in which all squads will play the team that finished with the same ranking in the opposite division.

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