Big Ten Waives
January 22, 2021
This 2020 college football season left many fans on their toes, especially followers of the Big Ten Conference. In early July, the Big Ten released a statement announcing that their fall sports teams will only be playing in-conference games. This resulted in a much shorter schedule for the teams and a lot of rearranging of games. Once the fall season rolled around, the Big Ten caused another uproar with their fans when they announced that they will not begin their football season in August. They proposed a possible spring football season as a solution, but left the possibilities very open-ended. This left supporters across the country shocked and devastated. The Pac-12 soon followed by announcing they had canceled all of their sports until 2021.
The sulking fans were relieved to hear that the Big Ten changed their plans after keeping a close eye on the other conferences and their COVID control. The Big Ten put the idea of a spring season to rest and shortly kicked off their football season on October 23 with the Illinois v. Wisconsin game. The fans were finally satisfied… but not for long. One after another, teams began to lose eligibility to play due to COVID outbreaks throughout the team. This resulted in various game cancelations in the season.
With the season delay and the multiple game cancelations, many teams were given a very limited amount of field time. The Big Ten decided to place a six-game rule in their conference which would only make a team eligible to play for the conference championship if they meet the requirement of a six-game minimum. This ruling was announced one day after the University of Michigan canceled their game with Ohio State University leaving the Buckeyes ineligible to play for the championship with their 5-0 record.
An issue later arose when the Big Ten announced that they would be waiving their new allowing Ohio State to play Northwestern in the championship game instead of 6-1 Indiana who would’ve been representing the East Division instead. The Big Ten’s official statement stated, “The decision was based on a competitive analysis which determined that Ohio State would have advanced to the Big Ten Football Championship Game based on its undefeated record and head-to-head victory over Indiana regardless of a win or loss against Michigan.”
This news caused an uproar in Big Ten fans debating whether this was a fair call for the conference to make. On the other hand, Waukee senior Jaden Steffy was excited after hearing his Buckeyes were allowed to play. Steffy started, “First of all, it was not Ohio State’s fault that the Big Ten decided to start playing later than everyone else. Secondly, Ohio State has proven themselves as a legitimate contender throughout the years and have shown that they are clearly the best in the Big Ten East by knocking off the majority of the teams in the regular season. Is it fair that they get to bend the rules to make the Big Ten championship? No. But after the entire season has been played out; it’s clear to both the playoff committee and the Big Ten league that Ohio State deserves their spot to compete, and I agree with them.”
After the Buckeyes defeated the Wildcats in the championship game, they proceeded to defeat Clemson 49-28 on the road to the national title. Some may say that nothing can stop the Ohio State Buckeyes, not even COVID.