We may have Big Ten football this fall, after all. But don't expect Michigan teams to take part.
With the conference's presidents and chancellors reportedly holding a re-vote Monday afternoon to start the season in October, the leaders at Michigan and Michigan State are expected to maintain their original stance of postponing the season until the spring.
If nine schools vote in favor of beginning play next month, the season will go on without the Wolverines and the Spartans.
"I’m told you can expect Big Ten Football," Dan Patrick reported on his radio show Monday morning. "I don’t know how many schools are going to play. It is going to be a contentious vote, because you have some people who have been in the medical community who are presidents at places like Michigan, Northwestern and they’re going to be voting against this.
"Michigan is probably not going to play, Michigan State’s not going to play, Maryland's probably not going to play. But you’re going to get Nebraska, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Ohio State. I’m told that Wisconsin, while they want to play, I don’t know if they’re going to be able to."
Michigan president Mark Schlissel is a longtime epidemiologist, and Michigan State president Samuel Staley has a deep background in infectious diseases. The Big Ten's 14 presidents/chancellors originally voted in August, by a count of 11-3, to postpone the season due to COVID-19.
If that decision is reversed on Monday, Patrick said the conference is aiming to start the season Oct. 17 with the hopes of landing at least one berth in the College Football Playoff.
"No bye weeks. It’s going to be full speed ahead, straight ahead, play your games, hope for the best and then maybe get one of the teams in the final four. That’s what the goal is," Patrick said. "I don’t what’s going to happen with the other schools. If you don’t play, are you going to try to play in the spring? And that’s going to be hard to do, because how many teams are going to be there to play?"