Big Ten members University of Michigan and Michigan State University could be excluded from the next football season, according to a tweet posted by U.S. President Donald Trump.
“Big Ten Football is looking really good, but may lose Michigan, Illinois and Maryland because of those Governors’ ridiculous lack of interest or political support,” Trump tweeted Sunday. “They will play without them?”
Big Ten Football is looking really good, but may lose Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland because of those Governors’ ridiculous lack of interest or political support. They will play without them?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2020
The tweet comes a few days after the president said he spoke with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren about reinstating the fall season amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Had a very productive conversation with Kevin Warren, Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, about immediately starting up Big Ten football,” Trump tweeted last week. “Would be good (great!) for everyone - Players, Fans, Country. On the one yard line!”
Big Ten officials confirmed that they spoke 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,” officials said.
A court filing disclosed on Aug. 31 showed that Big Ten Conference presidents voted 11-3 to postpone the football season due to the pandemic.
The Big Ten Conference announced on Aug. 11 that it would move its football season to the spring semester because of health risks associated with the virus. When the postponement was initially announced, U-M football coach Jim Harbaugh urged for the season go on as scheduled.
“I would like to address the rumors that are swirling today,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play, but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13.”
Since the fall football season was postponed, parents of football players have been protesting against the decision.
Recently, Harbaugh told U-M football players that they could begin their season as early as next month. Players at the university are frustrated that they haven’t been told exactly why the Big Ten put the fall season on hold.
The University of Michigan’s football season was originally slated to start this weekend.
Trump’s tweet on Sunday also comes days after the Michigan High School School Athletic Association (MHSAA) reinstated football and other high school sports. The MHSAA reinstated local sports following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent executive order that lifted restrictions on organized sports.