Donald Trump said the Big Ten Conference should start the football season “immediately” in a Twitter post on Tuesday. He added that he told commissioner Kevin Warren the same thing in a phone call the two had earlier in the morning.
Trump claimed he had a very productive conversation with Warren. He said it would be good, and then in parentheses said it would be “great!,” if the organization reversed its decision on playing in 2020.
He went on to clarify that he thought it would benefit college players, fans, and “the country.”
He added that talks were “on the one-yard line.” That term that generally means things are extremely close to getting settled, though the president didn’t make it clear what exactly he meant by that.
The Big Ten has come under pressure from a variety of different sources, especially over the last few days, to play football in the fall. In August, it announced a postponement until at least the spring of 2021. Rumors surfaced last week that a meeting of Big Ten coaches had supposedly formulated a plan to restart the schedule in November, but no resolution came from that get-together.
The president’s announcement of his phone call with the Big Ten commissioner came after earlier rumors that White House aides had been pushing for such a conversation on Monday night.
Austin War of the Ohio State-focused website Lettermen Row reported on Tuesday the staffers contacted league offices ahead of the call, hoping to find something the administration could provide to help move the B1G towards an autumn kickoff.
Those talks reportedly included offers of making coronavirus testing more available. It’s thought the speed and accuracy of testing is one of the reasons school presidents voted to postpone the season.
Ward said that the cheaper, saliva-based coronavirus testing supplies could be the key that unlocks the door back to a fall schedule. The staffers are said to have been taking the temperature of the higher-ups in the conference.
Analysts around the NCAA have said that the fall start by other programs, including those in the SEC, ACC, and Big 12, has increased the pressure on Warren to rethink his handling of the situation. As of now, those same analysts haven’t seen any indication the Big Ten is considering reversing course.
The conference is also being pushed by a group of Nebraska football players’ parents who filed a lawsuit last week. In a filing asking for the case to be dismissed the organization showed only three university presidents voted against postponing the season until 2021, USA Today reported on Monday.