Is there still a chance we will see Wisconsin football this fall?
When Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren announced the cancellation of the Big Ten football season has been a big disappointment for both players and fans, especially since the ACC, Big 12 and the SEC are all continuing on with their seasons. Some schools, like Nebraska, still wanted to play and even threatened to play regardless of what the Big Ten decided. They backed down when the Warren essentially told them if they do, they will no longer be a part of the Big Ten conference. After that, it really felt like there wasn’t any hope of Wisconsin football this fall.
Now, Ohio State reporter Jeff Snook wrote a Facebook post, saying that Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith has been working on some things behind the scenes to set up a 10-game season that will be played among six teams.
According to Snook’s post, they would need six teams to make it work and they apparently have the school president’s of Penn St., Iowa, and Nebraska on board, bringing the total amount of teams to four. With the need for two more teams, the group is hoping to convince Wisconsin and Michigan to join them.
“They really need to flip Wisconsin and Michigan to get to six schools and make this thing work,” the source said. “And they have only so much time to do it. They need to make progress and get it done in the next seven to 10 days.”
Wisconsin football Athletic Director Barry Alvarez has shown support for the plan but still has to convince UW President Drew Petersen. Michigan sounds like they may need some more convincing. That convincing may come from the schools’ alumni.
“This thing probably won’t go anywhere unless certain Big Ten presidents – like those at Michigan and Wisconsin – feel the pressure from their alumni, fans, and especially their major donors,” the source said. “I understand that several seven- and eight-figure donors at Michigan are very unhappy with the Big Ten’s decision and are putting pressure on their president to change his mind. And they may be threatening to withhold their money.”
Wisconsin has already announced that it expects to lose around $100 million if there isn’t Wisconsin football this fall. If donors pull their money as well, it would put even more pressure on the schools.
According to Snook, once the group gets six teams, other Big Ten teams will be able to join if they want.
Now, if other conferences that are still going forward with football have a successful season, it will be a very bad look for the Big Ten. This could be a way for the Big Ten to get some football in this fall and avoid trying to play in the spring, which has also drawn criticism. Who knows what will really happen, but the idea that a Wisconsin football season is possible is very exciting.