More than one month after postponing its fall season to spring 2021, the Big Ten announced Wednesday that it will return to action the weekend of Oct. 23.
The league intends to play an eight-game regular season – six division games and two crossover games – in eight weeks. The Big Ten Championship is slated for Dec. 19 – one day before the final College Football Playoff rankings are released.
“I can’t say I’m surprised that they came back,” Houston’s 610 Sports Radio host Clint Stoerner said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’m entertained by the way it all went down, the national media members that were behind not playing and really jumped on board when the Big Ten decided not to play and the Pac-12 decided not to play. And now they’re having to do a 180 because the Big Ten is back in action. Look, it’s great for college football to have all the Power Five conferences. Hopefully the Pac-12 will follow and we can put all this mess behind us.”
Stoerner was asked to elaborate on what he found entertaining in recent months. Was it simply the politics of the situation?
“I think just the politics behind it, yes,” he said. “The knee-jerk reaction to everything and every decision that an athlete makes or a program makes or, in this instance, a conference makes. The knee-jerk reaction for people to jump on board and have this strong opinion or this hot take – and then all of a sudden when it does a 180, people start backpedaling like Deion Sanders and talking about, ‘I’m all about [the] Big Ten playing now.’ And so, it’s just interesting to watch this thing unfold. It’s interesting to watch all of us in the radio and the TV world try to report on it and keep up with it when in reality we don’t know what’s coming next with this COVID-19.”
The Big Ten joins the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 as the fourth Power Five conference to play – or at least attempt to play – a fall season. The league will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers, and other personnel to take daily antigen tests. Big Ten student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 cannot participate in games for at least 21 days.
“I’m just entertained with the back-and-forth, the unknown, the squirming in the media to try to be on one side or the other instead of just letting it all play out,” Stoerner said. “I think it’s great for the kids. Ultimately, that’s all that matters, right? That you’ve got a group of college athletes that . . . are going to get to at least start their season and play a little bit of football. That’s all that matters, ultimately, is that the kids get what they worked so hard to start. I’m excited. I’m a huge college football fan, so I’m excited about it.”