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Letter to the Big Ten Conference
This past week, 28 of Nebraska’s 49 state senators signed onto my letter to Big Ten Conference Commissioner Keven Warren urging the B1G to transparently reconsider its decision to cancel fall sports.
“We are writing you today to urge the Big Ten Conference to transparently reconsider its decision to cancel the fall football season.
Other major conferences have proven over recent weeks that football and other fall sports can be conducted safely. Big Ten athletic programs have led the way for player safety by ensuring student-athletes have access to regular testing and are under tight physical distancing controls. Five weeks ago, conference leaders released updated and enhanced testing, quarantine, and isolation policies. These efforts have been successful at preventing the spread of COVID-19, yet the conference disregarded this success by canceling the fall season anyway.
The University of Nebraska’s student-athletes, coaches, and administrators have overwhelmingly expressed support of a fall sports season. The Big Ten Conference’s fall sports cancellation, especially while other major conferences have successfully prepared to return to action, placed our student-athletes at a disadvantage to their peers on and off the playing field. Big Ten member institutions also stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships and programs.
Safely returning to play this fall has support from players, parents, coaches, and fans in the state of Nebraska. Therefore, we respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision and work with our university leaders to allow sports to resume this fall.”
This letter had bipartisan support from many of my colleagues. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren’s son is playing football this fall at Mississippi State, so it would certainly be my hope that if convincing evidence existed to cancel the fall sports season, the Big Ten would make that information publicly available for all to know. If that evidence doesn’t exist, we owe it to our student athletes to give this season a shot. Falls sports represent both an irreplaceable time in these athletes’ lives and a multi-million dollar segment of Nebraska’s economy, supporting hundreds of jobs. Conference leaders will be voting again on the fate of the falls sports season this week. Let’s hope, this time, the vote is transparent and evidence-based.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.