President Trump talks to Big Ten commissioner about salvaging fall football season

President Donald Trump appears to be getting involved in getting Big Ten football back up and running sooner than later.

Trump tweeted Tuesday morning he had “a very productive conversation” with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.

The topic?

“Immediately starting up Big Ten football.”

In response, the Big Ten released a statement confirming Trump and Warren had “a productive conversation”:

“The Big Ten Conference and its Return to Competition Task Force, on behalf of the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C), are exhausting every resource to help student-athletes get back to playing the sports they love, at the appropriate time, in the safest and healthiest way possible.”

The Big Ten was scheduled to begin this week — including Ohio State at Illinois on Thursday night — but pulled the plug on the fall season in early August amid concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. reported Trump was set to speak to Warren about the availability of COVID-19 testing.

The new, cheaper, saliva-based tests could be the key that unlocks the door back to the Horseshoe and stadiums around the conference. And the White House might be willing to assist in that effort by potentially designating part of its supply to the Big Ten after buying 150 million rapid tests last week from Abbott Laboratories. It's unclear exactly how that distribution would be handled or precisely how many tests the Big Ten would need at this point, but Trump was expected to discuss that situation with Warren after previously making it clear he wants to see the richest league in the country back on the field.


Trump has weighed in on the cancelation previously, including Friday when he tweeted he wanted “Big Ten and all other football back now” and accused Democrats of not wanting football to be played this fall for political reasons.

He added his opponents “are trying to blame me and the Republicans,” which he called a lie.

Although Warren was interviewed on the conference’s television network when the Big Ten’s decisions as first announced, he offered little in terms of specific reasons for the move.

Eight days later, he released an open letter offering more information, but by then complaints from players including Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and parents at multiple schools had grown louder and louder.

The requests for transparency have not subsided, and conspiracy theories including the move was politically motivated ahead of the presidential election in November have filled the information vacuum on Twitter and Ohio State message boards.

While the Big Ten, Pac-12 and MAC (among others) canceled (or “postponed” in the words of the Big Ten) the fall football season in early August, several leagues are still set to play later this month.

That includes the other members of the Power 5 conferences — SEC, ACC and Big 12 — along with the American Athletic Conference, which includes the University of Cincinnati.

High school football also kicked off in Ohio last weekend.

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