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Warren mostly evasive in BTN interview; says 'uncertainty' among medical experts fueled decision
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Warren mostly evasive in BTN interview; says 'uncertainty' among medical experts fueled decision

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Kevin Warren

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is under fire for the league's decision to postpone fall sports, including football. 

Pressed by the Big Ten Network's Dave Revsine on how the conference reached the decision to cancel fall sports and what comes next, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said a lot without really saying much at all.

To be fair, Warren was put in the impossible position of trying to answer difficult questions just minutes after the Big Ten announced it was canceling fall sports and looking at the potential to play in the spring. There probably wasn't much he could say that would make fans — Nebraska's or anyone else's — happy about another blow to the nation's collective psyche.

But he tried. Just six days after the league released a football schedule that touted flexibility, Warren was left to explain what changed.

"One of the things that we promised ourselves (was) that this was going to be a fluid situation, this was going to be a day-to-day situation, and we would be on a perpetual state of just observing, gathering information and doing everything we possibly could to have fall sports," Warren said. "That being said, our overarching reason, and the overarching issues that we always had to keep at the top of our mind, was the fact — and I’ve said it from the first day that I started at the Big Ten — the health, the safety, the wellness, both physical and mental, for our student-athletes was going to be at the top of my list."

Warren made it clear last week, he said, that the state of not only football but all fall sports was a day-to-day proposition. The release of the schedule, he continued, came about because the league wanted to "plan ahead" for a possible fall season while also realizing that season might not actually happen.

"I take this responsibility seriously, and I will continually do everything in my power to make sure that we put our student-athletes in a position to be empowered, and to be elevated. It's people first. And students," Warren said.

Then the commissioner dipped a toe into one of the many touchy issues surrounding whether schools should play this fall.

Warren updates stance, says Huskers cannot play this fall without consequences

"And understand also, they're not professionals," Warren said. "These are amateur athletes, and they deserve an opportunity to be able to participate in a healthy and safe manner."

Warren said he, and the leaders of the Big Ten's 14 universities, have followed the advice of the league's task force for emerging and infectious diseases, as well as its sports medicine task force.

And what did those experts say that caused the conference to shut things down so quickly after releasing an initial schedule?

"There's too much uncertainty. We have a lot of uncertainty going on now," Warren said. "And it doesn't mean that we're giving up forever. I mean, this is really our continuation of work, and an evolution. We're going to continually have to gather information and look forward to the future, but there's so much uncertainty."

That uncertainty also, apparently, extended to the vote among the league's 14 schools on whether to cancel the season. Asked to explain the process of making the decision, Warren talked about having several meetings and how the conference will continue to meet.

When asked directly whether the vote to cancel was unanimous, Warren deferred.

"I would rather not have a detailed discussion about your question about is the vote unanimous or not unanimous," Warren said.

Contact the writer at cbasnett@journalstar.com or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker men's basketball/baseball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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