How, as a matter of procedure, did the Big Ten Conference cancel its fall sports season?
When the cancellation was announced last week, it was widely and reasonably assumed to be the result of a vote by university presidents.
“I was not in the room or on the zoom,’’ Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said Monday. “It's unclear to me whether there was ever a vote or not.’’
“It’s unclear to me whether or not there was a vote,’’ Barbour said later, when asked to clarify. “Nobody’s ever told me that there was. I just don’t know whether there actually was a vote by the chancellors and the presidents.’’
The president of the University of Minnesota, Joan Gabel, who was in the room/zoom, said last week she, “wouldn’t call it a vote per se.’’
She called it “a deliberative process where we came to a decision together.’’
“I don’t know what to tell you,’’ Barbour said. “I’m sure the sense in the room was in a certain direction, and everyone felt, in unison, this was the right thing to do.’’
To be clear, both Barbour and Gabel have expressed full support for the decision.
More, from Barbour’s hour-long news conference Monday:
On spring football: It past meetings with the media, Barbour has seemed sour on the idea.
She said Monday that after the fall season was cancelled, “I had my own little tantrum, in my disappointment.’’
Then she got up Thursday morning, met with her staff, and said, “guys, I’m fired up.’’
In contrast to ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who dismissed a spring/fall football calendar with a “no chance,’’ Barbour said, “I absolutely see it being viable.’’
At the conference level, Barber said,
It sounds like the conference is thinking along the same rough lines as Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm, who announced a detailed spring/fall plan last week that would drastically reduce the number of in-pads practices per calendar year.
“Certainly we've had conversations about a number of games, but our experts have told us where we really need to focus on is the intensity of practice,’’ Barbour said.
On anger: Big Ten players, parents and fans are mad. When they heard Monday about the lack of a vote to cancel fall football, they no doubt got madder.
Barbour said she has not spoken to athletes’ families herself, but that has been a daily project of Penn State’s coaches.
Head football coach James Franklin will meet the media Wednesday.
“I don't know what the mode of delivery is, but I certainly will always be in favor of our student-athletes and their families having as much information as there is available,’’ she said.
In contrast to almost all of her colleagues, Barbour provided some detail on the data on which the cancellation was based.
“We have not diagnosed any of our students (who’ve tested positive for the virus) with myocarditis, but that’s been on our radar for at least two months.’’
Barbur noted that a coronavirus saliva test has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the PCR reagent (swab) test is more accurate and can detect the virus earlier.
“The supply chain on those is tightening up a little bit, which was very concerning, I know, to our presidents and chancellors,’’ Barbour said.
“The long-term impacts are something we can't know we can't know right now. And frankly, we can't know it two or three weeks, either. So, was that certainly a part of (the Big Ten’s) decision. Absolutely it was.’’