It was one month ago that the Big Ten announced the fall football season was cancelled. Ryan Day had a press conference the following day, but other than that the Buckeye football coach has been largely silent. That all changed on Thursday. With reports circulating that Big Ten Presidents may re-vote early next week, Day went on the offensive.
"The communication of information from the Big Ten following the decision has been disappointing and often unclear," Day said in a statement posted on Twitter. "However we still have the opportunity to give our young men what they worked so hard for: a chance to safely compete for a national championship this fall.”
Day was the second high profile Big Ten coach to take on the league on Thursday. Earlier in the day, Penn State coach James Franklin was vocal in an interview on ESPN radio. Like Day, Franklin was also critical of Big Ten's lack of transparency.
"We just haven’t gotten great communication from the beginning. We’ve never really been told or understood why the season was shut down in the first place," Franklin said. "And there hasn’t been a whole lot of communication since."
Ohio State Football's official social media account supplemented Day's statement, with a short video, featuring Day's voice, and ending with team breaking a huddle shouting "fight."
Among Ohio State fans and most of the media, Day's statement was well received. It was viewed by most, as a coach fighting for his players who have put in countless hours in the off-season, have dreams of a national title, and are watching football being played at all levels across the country, while they sit and watch. Not everyone, however, approved of Day's comments.
While I respect Nicole Auerbach and for the most part, enjoy her work at the Athletic and the Big Ten Network, I was puzzled by this take. Ryan Day and Ohio State are far from alone in believing the Big Ten acted too quickly in pulling the plug on the fall season. Eight Nebraska players filed a lawsuit against the Big Ten. Parents from Nebraska, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan have all held rallies recently. Wolverine coach Jim Harbaugh has been vocal and even marched with Michigan parents at a protest last weekend. Does Ryan Day have a team that is a legitimate national title contender? Yes...and I'm sure that's part of the motivation for speaking out, but primarily, like all the other athletes, coaches and parents around the league, Day just wants his kids to get a chance to play a meaningful season.
Will any of this public pressure make a difference? We'll find out. It appears it will have no effect on one Big Ten President.
The vote of Big Ten Presidents is expected early next week and for the sake of Ryan Day, James Franklin, Jim Harbaugh and the other Big Ten coaches, players, parents and fans who are hoping for fall football it has to be sooner rather than later. To fit in a 10 game season, with a league championship game before the College Football Playoff committee selects its playoff participants, the season can start no later than October 10. Coaches can't just snap their fingers and have their teams ready to play. Of course, if nothing changes and the decision remains to play football in the winter or spring, it's a moot point, but if the league does change course, coaches need time to prepare---and time is running out.