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Nebraska state legislators join chorus of voices asking for Big Ten to reconsider postponement
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Nebraska state legislators join chorus of voices asking for Big Ten to reconsider postponement

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For the second straight day, a group of state legislators asked the Big Ten to reconsider its postponement of football season. 

This time, the request came from the state of Nebraska.

A bipartisan group of 28 state senators — more than half of the 49 members — signed a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren and the conference's Council of Presidents and Chancellors asking the league to "transparently reconsider its decision to cancel the fall football season."

"The University of Nebraska's student athletes, coaches, and administrators have overwhelmingly expressed support of a falls ports season," the letter reads in part. "The Big Ten Conference's fall sports cancellation, especially while other major conferences have successfully prepared to return to action, placed our student athletes at a disadvantage to their peers on and off the playing field. Big Ten member institutions also stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships and programs." 

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The letter is signed by 25 Republicans and three Democrats in the officially nonpartisan Legislature. Included are a trio of state senators from Lincoln: Republicans Suzanne Geist and Mike Hilgers and Democrat Anna Wishart. 

On Tuesday, a group of 10 state Republican legislative leaders from six states around the Big Ten footprint also sent a letter to the Big Ten.

There is a growing sentiment, too, that a proposal could be forthcoming before much longer from the conference's return to competition committee for consideration by the COP/C.

NU system president Ted Carter on Wednesday morning told KLIN, "Here's what I will say: There is still an awful lot of work still going on from the return to play committee. ... They're putting together some plans that the presidents and chancellors will vote on very soon. The fight is still on." 

The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that a vote could happen this weekend "at the earliest."

As Memorial Stadium sits empty, Saturdays without football in Lincoln start to hit home

If a vote is taken and a return to competition is approved, it's not clear exactly what a restart date for football might look like. The Journal Star reported Tuesday that there's not currently believed to be enough COP/C support for an early October start.

NU athletic director Bill Moos said late last month that the subcommittee he serves on that's considering potential scheduling models had looked at Thanksgiving, January and February starts. Of course, it's possible more options have been added to the table since. 

The COP/C needs 60% of its membership to vote in favor of a plan, which means nine of the 14 council members. 

The Big Ten responded to the Tuesday letter with a statement that said the sides have common ground. 

"The letter reflects that we all want the same thing, which is for 'sports to continue safely,'" the statement said. "The conference will continue to work with the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, as it has always done, to identify opportunities to resume competition as soon as it is safe to do so." 

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Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Husker football reporter

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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