Ravens coach John Harbaugh: 'Free the Big Ten'

Nick Bromberg
·3 mins read

As John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens prepare for the 2020 NFL season to begin in less than two weeks, Harbaugh wishes his brother was in the same position.

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines aren’t playing football anytime soon thanks to the Big Ten’s decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. On Wednesday, John Harbaugh made sure to express his displeasure with that decision at the end of his news conference.

“Free the Big Ten. Let’s go. Let’s go play some football. Let’s get Michigan and Ohio State and all those great teams playing some football out there. Michigan had zero positive tests in August, they’re doing a great job with protocols and those guys want to play.”

Trump had call with Big Ten

John Harbaugh’s statement Wednesday comes a day after President Donald Trump set up a phone call with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren. Trump has been vocal about his desire for the Big Ten to play this fall — possibly because the conference has schools in states that are vital to his 2020 election prospects — and has singled out the conference ever since it decided on Aug. 11 to postpone the season to the spring.

While some in the Big Ten have had discussions about starting the season at some point before 2020 is over, there are no concrete plans for the conference to start playing football in the near future.

Jim Harbaugh pushed to play

Trump pushed back on the Big Ten’s decision after coaches and players and others in the conference voiced their public opposition to the postponement. One of those coaches publicly advocating for football in the fall was Jim Harbaugh.

The Michigan coach issued a statement the day before the Big Ten made its announcement noting how well Michigan’s football team had been following coronavirus protocols and lauded the team’s positive test rate. Per Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Harbaugh is one of the coaches who want the Big Ten to explore a potential November start.

Players and coaches had little input in the Big Ten’s decision, however. The choice to postpone all fall sports was made by university presidents and chancellors and 11 of the 14 school leaders in the conference felt that it was too unsafe to play sports this fall. If the Big Ten does play football sooner rather than later, many of those 11 voices against fall sports will have to be swayed.

Jim Harbaugh (L) won't be coaching a team this fall. For now, anyway. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh's team is set to kick off in less than two weeks. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Jim Harbaugh (L) won't be coaching a team this fall. For now, anyway. Meanwhile, John Harbaugh's team is set to kick off in less than two weeks. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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