ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jim Harbaugh told Michigan football players Thursday that they could begin their season as early as next month.
Players at the University of Michigan are frustrated by being left in the dark about the reasons behind the Big Ten putting the season on hold. They want to be kept in the loop as major decisions are being made behind the scenes.
The Michigan football season was supposed to begin this weekend, but instead, there’s no game, leaving players frustrated.
“It’s just weird,” said. “We don’t have football on Saturdays, haven’t been in equipment in the longest time. It feels really weird right now.”
When the Big Ten canceled the season a month ago, Jim Harbaugh released a statement in disagreement and disappointment. Since then, football parents have protested at conference headquarters, and another protest is planned for Ann Arbor on Saturday.
Players said they’re in the dark and unsure how or why the decision to cancel was made.
“A little frustrating, an emotional rollercoaster,” said. “We don’t know what to believe.”
Offensive lineman Ryan Hayes believes the conference could play safely. Michigan football hasn’t had a single positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test this month.
“We were getting tested a couple times a week at camp,” Hayes said. “New we get tested once a week. Masks all through the building, lifting. Temperature when we come in. All protocols taken when we eat, and only so many people in the locker room.”
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The biggest gut punch will be watching teams from other conferences play on Saturdays, players said.
“It’s very frustrating because we’re in the same pandemic they’re in and at the same time, they get to play and we don’t,” said.
There is some hope, though. Michigan players said they believe they might be able to put on pads soon.
“Yesterday before practice, Coach Harbaugh did say we could possibly play in October,” said. “If we can play as soon as possible, I’m in. We haven’t stopped practicing. We’re ready to go.”
Dan Patrick reported this week that the Big Ten was looking into starting the season as early as Oct. 10 if there are updated safety measures. Players said that would be great, but they will believe it when they see it.
Big Ten officials confirmed speaking with a White House representative this week. The conference’s Return To Competition Task Force is “exhausting every resource to help student-athletes get back to playing the sports they love at the appropriate time in the safest, healthiest way possible.”