President Donald Trump spoke via phone with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on Sept. 1, both parties confirmed in statements.
But while Trump said he believes the phone call may lead to the Big Ten restarting soon, Warren does not hold the power to unilaterally reinstate the fall football season.
The Big Ten called the call “productive” in a statement.
“I just had a very good conversation with the commissioner of Big Ten football, Kevin Warren. I think it was very productive about getting Big Ten playing again immediately,” Trump told reporters. “Maybe we’ll be very nicely surprised. They had it closed up, and I think they’d like to see it opened.”
Trump said that the “biggest headwind” against restarting the season were “democrats.”
However, the greatest headwind lies with Big Ten presidents and chancellors themselves.
At least 60% of Big Ten presidents or chancellors must vote in favor of postponing a season in order to make the postponement official, according to a lawsuit filed by Nebraska football players against the Big Ten that details the Big Ten’s bylaws. Eleven out of 14 presidents/chancellors voted in favor of postponing the season, according to a response to the lawsuit.
Thus, neither Warren nor Trump or any Big Ten athletic directors or coaches hold the power to reverse the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors’ decision.
The Big Ten also issued a statement on Aug. 31 regarding the lawsuit that said the conference stands by its decision to postpone the season.
As for who will make decisions regarding when the season will begin, the Presidents/Chancellors council has put together a task force to explore all its options.
“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’s statement about Trump’s call concluded.