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.
"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.
Scott Frost says "nothing has been more important" than the health and safety of his student-athletes.
Here's what people, including Nebraska players, are saying about the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall sports
Omar Manning, Nebraska WR
smh— “BOOBIE” (@TheOmarManning) August 11, 2020
Cam Taylor-Britt, Nebraska DB
Wow.— Cam Juice🧃™️ (@CamTaylorBritt5) August 11, 2020
Luke Gifford, former Nebraska LB
Cade Mueller, Nebraska long snapper
Honestly, if we did a red vs. white scrimmage every week for the fall I wouldn’t care...I just want to play— Cade Mueller (@CadeMueller55) August 11, 2020
Latrell Neville, Nebraska commit
William Przystup, Nebraska P
Niko Cooper, Nebraska OLB
Zach Weinmaster, Nebraska RB
Joel Klatt, Fox Sports
I believe that these players deserve to see the medical evidence that drove this decision...how and why is it different from what other conferences are hearing?— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) August 11, 2020
Justin Fields, Ohio State QB
Smh..— Justin Fields (@justnfields) August 11, 2020
Nouredin Nouili, Nebraska OL
Tim Brando, Fox Sports
Jeremiah Sirles, Former Nebraska OL
Noah Stafursky. Nebraska OL
This is a cowardly move. The guys behind the desks make a anti player move yet again. When do we get a voice? Why is it just “well let’s try” when it comes to school and work? We want to play and we want to play in the fall. #LetUsPlay pic.twitter.com/UhIqMLrg1y— Noah Stafursky (@noahdukes19) August 11, 2020
Adam Kramer, Bleacher Report
They released a schedule like seven hours ago. To postpone that quickly after the fact is truly a shocking lack of vision and clearly massive communication issues.— Adam Kramer (@KegsnEggs) August 11, 2020
Steven M. Sipple, Lincoln Journal Star
Clay Travis, Outkick
The Big Ten is a disaster. And spring isn’t happening. Feel bad for Big Ten fans.— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) August 11, 2020
Matt Schick, ESPN
Hard to fathom what is happening. I feel so bad for the players, many of whom build their lives and futures around the game. So brutal. 2020 can go jump off a cliff.— Matt Schick (@ESPN_Schick) August 11, 2020
Benjamin Allbright, KOA Colorado
Nebraska has entered the transfer portal.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) August 11, 2020
Marty Smith, ESPN
A staff member from a prominent Big 10 program just told me he is "pissed. Sad. Speechless. Shocked. All mixed into one." Says the players are devastated.— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) August 11, 2020
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.