The same conversations that happen daily around the country these days — When will things return to normal? What if they don't? What is safe and what isn't? — are also being held among Big Ten officials on a daily basis.
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos told the Journal Star this week that the conference has a daily teleconference, sometimes up to 90 minutes long, Monday through Friday as the league works its way through a changing, challenging landscape during the coronavirus pandemic.
"We share our thoughts and ideas and concerns," Moos said. "I think it’s been really good for us as a conference. I’ve always felt we were a pretty tight-knit group, but it’s brought us closer together because we’re all faced with the same problems."
The biggest, looming potential problem, of course, is the college football season. To that end, there is still time, but Moos said that, generally speaking, the group thinks more than a month is necessary to ramp student-athletes back up toward being able to play at a safe level.
"We’re kind of talking, just in conversation in the Big Ten, of around six weeks," he said. "You start encroaching into six weeks out from opening kickoff and you’re in some concern, as far as we’re concerned, in regards to having these players ready to go. ...
"I think we’re having very good conversations about the what-ifs that could come out of this, and I think what we’ll end up with is a handful of options depending on the national picture as to when we can get back to some degree of normal."
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told reporters on a conference call Friday morning that specific scenarios haven't been modeled out yet among the group. As that happens, though, there are endless details to consider.
"If we do adjust the season, we’ve got aircraft charters reserved, we’ve got hotels reserved," Moos said. "Are we going to bring 90,000 people back into Memorial Stadium with somewhat of an aging fanbase? We’ve got to think through that.
"Then the other piece is we have student-athletes that are all across this country that are taking classes from home, can’t get into a gym, hopefully are eating properly and fueling their bodies right, but it’s hard to keep tabs on that. Then, how soon or how late can we go to get them back and have them in good enough shape to be safe to go out on a football field and play the game at the level that we’ve been used to playing it?"
There are many questions and, at present, far fewer answers. But Moos said he's been heartened by the way the Big Ten administrators have worked through it so far and added that the Power Five commissioners are in regular contact with each other and with College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock.
"Kevin Warren is just in his first few months as our commissioner, and I think he has been fabulous," Moos said. "There has never been, I don’t think, better communication and certainly not in the daily and weekly sense that we’re seeing it now."