Six Big Ten Teams Rumored To Be Looking At Ways To Play Football This Fall, Led By Ohio State

Kevin Warren, Big Ten conference commissioner, gives a speech
Andrew Redington / Getty Images

The Big Ten conference, or at least member schools, could still be looking at finding a way to play football this fall. A report written on Wednesday by Joe Kinsey of Outkick cited Ohio State insider and reporter Jeff Snook as saying there were at least six programs working behind the scenes to salvage the 2020 season.

The report said OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith is leading the charge and the revised schedule would include the Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, and Michigan Wolverines.

The report said the inclusion of the Badgers and the Wolverines is less certain. What is rumored is that there is a coalition of Big Ten teams looking to find a way to play some kind of layout that would allow for at least a few games this fall. Should the plan come together, more programs are expected to join the fray.

Kinsey said that no matter what has been reported so far, there are higher-ups in the Big Ten that haven’t given up on playing football. Smith was one of those who expressed his dismay at the postponement of the fall slate, even while saying he would go along with the call.

“Athletic Director Gene Smith, with the full support of school president-elect Kristina Johnson, has been working behind the scenes for the past six days to organize fellow Big Ten conference athletic directors in convincing at least five other university presidents to move forward with a 10-game season to be played among six teams, a source familiar with the movement told me today,” Snook wrote in a now-deleted Facebook post.

Ohio State University athletics director Gene Smith listens during a press conference
  Kirk Irwin / Getty Images

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren wasn’t mentioned in the latest rumors, which stays in line with what reports say was a concerted effort to stay out of the spotlight.

Snook’s post explained the idea of somehow playing before the spring hinges on the Badgers and the Wolverines agreeing to participate. Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez is said to be on board, though the school’s president may not go along with the plan.

The situation is rumored to be the same at Michigan. Michigan’s AD, Warde Manuel, and head coach, Jim Harbaugh, want to find a way to play before the spring, but it isn’t up to them.

One reason it’s thought that Smith is leading the charge is that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine gave the go-ahead for contact sports this season. DeWine’s approval means high school sports, the Cincinnati Bearcats, and the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns are all playing.