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Growing Big Ten Parent Coalition Targets Commissioner

Paul Steinbach

An open letter claiming endorsement by parent groups representing 11 of the Big Ten Conference's 14 football programs proclaims a lack of confidence in commissioner Kevin Warren.

As reported by The Spun, the letter was sent to Warren and Big Ten leadership Wednesday morning by Nebraska Cornhusker Football Parents. "We have been in contact with 11 of the 14 parent groups representing BIG 10 football teams," the Nebraska parents tweeted. "WE ARE UNITED, & our message has been fully aligned. This letter to the @bigten, Presidents/Chancellors, & @KevinFWarren represents the simple requests from #B1GparentsUNITED#LetThemPlay"

Other parent groups have tweeted the letter.

The Big Ten announced Aug. 11 that due to coronavirus concerns it was postponing all fall sports, with the hope of shifting competition to the spring. The Pac-12 soon followed. To date, they remain the only Power 5 conferences to postpone their fall sports seasons.

The decision was presented as one made by a vote of university presidents, while member athletic directors appear unanimous in their desire to play in the fall.

Related: Big Ten ADs Wanted to Play Football; Some Still Trying

“We are extremely disappointed in your August 19, 2020 correspondence in response to widespread requests for an explanation,” the letter to Warren states. “Candidly, at this point, the parent organizations have a total lack of confidence in your ability to lead and communicate effectively with all key stakeholders.”

The letter makes three specific demands:

1. Transparency of process, including the disclosure of all documents, video recordings, communications, minutes of meetings related to the decision to cancel the fall sports season. Lawyer Tom Mars, who has assisted college players in the past on matters of eligibility, reportedly has filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

2. A parent forum at which a structured discussion with Warren can take place regarding process and decisions moving forward.

3. A Return to Competition Task Force plan of action that includes, among other things, input from parents and students, identifies a timeline of assessment and communication, and establishes criteria for determining if a season can be held.

Parental pressure on Warren and the conference has been building for weeks.

Related: Parents Threaten to Sue Big Ten, Protest at League HQ

However, it appears unlikely the parents' efforts will have any effect. Warren has made it clear that the Big Ten's decision is final.

Related: Big Ten Commissioner: Decision to Cancel Fall is Final

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