As Big Ten coaches and athletic directors talk about the possibility of the conference beginning its 2020 football season in late November, President Donald Trump might want football back even sooner than that.
Trump tweeted Friday that he wanted the Big Ten and different conferences that deferred their seasons to play “now.” The tweet came after Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel and others had reported on the early-stage discussions among Big Ten athletic departments about kicking the football season off before 2021 starts.
While the Big Ten was the only conference Trump named explicitly in his tweet, it’s one of four conferences at the top level of college football with a deferred fall sports season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the Pac-12 have additionally deferred their fall sports seasons.
None of those decisions had anything to do with outward impact from the Democratic Party and there has been no exertion by the party to push different schools and conferences into not playing football this fall.
It’s additionally indistinct with respect to the particular states Trump is referring to when he alluded to “shutdown states” in his tweet. The Big Ten’s footprint incorporates the pivotal Electoral College states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Trump won each of the three of those states in the 2016 election.
Note that university presidents settled on the decision to delay the season alongside Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. The decision to defer the season recently was met with public pushback from players and coaches. Players at Nebraska even ventured to such an extreme as to file a lawsuit against the conference this week.
That pushback likewise included Trump at that point. As the Big Ten, Pac-12 and others deferred their seasons, Trump and his campaign began using the #WeWantToPlay hashtag began by college players the nation over.
College football match-ups have been a dependably friendly area for Trump, as he’s gone to two of the last three national championships. He likewise went to LSU’s success over Alabama and has gone to different Army-Navy games during his presidential residency.