President Donald Trump celebrated the return of Big Ten college football. The conference presidents and chancellors resurrected a 2020 season for an October 24 start.
“Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams to participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped!!!” Trump tweeted.
The president has been vocal about the Big Ten’s return since it was announced on Aug. 10 college football would be postponed. The Big Ten conference covers the Midwest with states like Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The conference announced all teams would attempt to play, thanks to the availability of rapid COVID-19 testing.
“We’re all going to play or not if we possibly can,” Wisconsin chancellor Rebecca Blank told ESPN. “This isn’t going to be a school-by-school thing.”
Donald Trump spoke with the Big Ten commissioner on Sept. 1.
The conference didn’t mention Trump’s involvement. The president previously spoke with conference commissioner Kevin Warren on Sept. 1. Trump offered to help supply rapid COVID-19 tests, according to The Detroit News.
“It was productive. It was productive and interesting,” Warren said of his call with Trump. “I’m always interested in who’s willing to help, regardless of the level that they can help in.”
After the call, Trump subsequently tweeted the Big Ten stood on the “one-yard line” from its return. The president later criticized the governors of Michigan, Illinois and Maryland for delaying the conference’s season. As a result, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said she played no part in deciding the conference’s return date.
Trump also brought up the conference during a rally he held last week in Saginaw, Michigan and a town hall appearance in Philadelphia. During her Wednesday briefing, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany listed the states in the conference.
“The president was happy to get this going,” she also said.
The Pac-12 is now the only Power Five conference whose fall sports remain shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
[H/T: The Detroit News]