Document Dive Reveals Depth of Ohio State’s Disagreement with Big Ten

By May 26, 2021 (9:41 pm)Football
image_pdfClick for PDFimage_printClick to Print

Several local media outlets filed Freedom of Information Act requests with Ohio State University after the Big Ten attempted to cancel fall football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the documents that have come to light as a result appear to show a deep schism between the Buckeyes and the league on the issue.

Eleven Warriors reporters Dan Hope and Colin Hass-Hill made a timeline based on what they discovered, and the highlights include:

  • Members of Ohio State’s athletic department were devastated by the initial announcement. The school chose not to ask football coach Ryan Day to immediately speak on the matter, because he was so upset, and athletic director Gene Smith had to – in his words – “rally and be positive” before he was able do so.
  • Despite rallying to do interviews, in private correspondence, Smith was saying he felt like he had failed Ohio State’s players by not preventing this from happening.
  • Ohio State did explore taking the field despite the Big Ten’s decision. “Trying to understand our contracts and if we can play independent this year,” wrote Smith.
  • According to university president Kristina Johnson, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren felt a request that he reconsider, issued in a letter released by a group of parents of Buckeye football players was “manufactured.”

You can read the full Eleven Warriors timeline here.

Big Ten presidents and chancellors voted to postpone all fall sports, including football, on Aug. 11, 2020. On Sept. 16, the conference announced it would play an abbreviated season starting the weekend of Oct. 23-24.