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Shatel: Huskers' lawsuit shows it's time for Big Ten to come clean

Shatel: Huskers' lawsuit shows it's time for Big Ten to come clean

“Huskers Take Big Ten To Court.”

Now there's a headline sure to grab attention around college football and certainly inside the ivy-covered walls of a few Big Ten administration buildings.

I can hear the response now: Enough already, Nebraska. There’s not going to be any football this fall. Give it up.

But Nebraska is fighting on, and has this program ever been more united and willing to take bold steps?

This time the players are involved. The players, in some cases prodded by their parents, have their names on this action.

If you’re surprised, you haven’t been paying attention to the NBA, NFL or MLB.

This is not a move borne out of desperation. It’s a calculated move. And it might just work.

What’s the end game here?

The lawsuit says the plaintiffs want the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the football season “overturned.” But, again, I don’t think anyone expects football to be played this fall. Maybe that would be a bonus, but I don't think that's what is at work here.

Moreover, the hunch is they want the Big Ten bosses to fess up, tell their story, say what, how and why this decision came about.

This is not about disagreeing with safety or pandemic or good health. It’s about getting the Big Ten to come clean.

Who made this call? The Big Ten presidents alone? Did first-year commissioner Kevin Warren have any input? How much? Did he give them a push?

What was the specific research and the medical advice?

Was there a darned vote? What was it?

Basically, some good folks impacted by this want answers beyond the well-versed press release.

The Big Ten can be an impenetrable wall, even without long-time commissioner Jim Delany.

Parents groups from as many as 10 Big Ten schools sent letters to the league office asking for answers. The Big Ten’s most decorated returning player did the same. Some parents showed up at the Big Ten’s office — announced — but no Big Ten folks were there.

The Big Ten hasn’t had to answer a single question. But can Warren and the Big Ten officials dodge a lawsuit — especially one from student-athletes?

Again, this isn’t about damages or getting back on the field next month. It’s about transparency.

It wouldn’t be hard to make this go away. Have Warren and a handful of Big Ten presidents lay out all the details. Invite a group of representatives from the parents and players of the Big Ten to Chicago and answer every question.

Come down from the Ivory Tower and talk to the people.

If not, I wonder how many emails and documents used in this process might come out in court. Is that what the Big Ten wants?

Now, there are eight Nebraska players on this suit, and six of them have parents who are involved in the Nebraska Football Parents group. To be sure, there’s a connection.

But don’t think that this is a solitary fight among a few parents with a lawyer. I’ve got to believe the entire team, coaching staff and administration are standing behind the Husker Eight.

And now, there might be more than a few Big Ten allies behind them, too.

And don’t think the players are not willing and able to step up into this spotlight. Recently players’ groups from the Big Ten and Pac-12 organized and sent letters to their respective conference offices with various demands.

This is another example that the future is here, knocking on the door. Meanwhile, the Big Ten presidents who said they were postponing football because they had the best interest of the players can do them one better.

They can explain it to them in person.

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