While the year 2020 has felt like an entire decade, the past five weeks for the Big Ten have probably felt like a century. After announcing the cancelation of football and other fall sports on August 11, the conference reversed course less than five weeks later after tremendous pushback from players, their parents, coaches, and even President Trump.
Initially, only three schools voted against the conference’s decision to cancel football this fall, and based on recent polls conducted by Morning Consult, the majority of fans seemed to be on the same page, at least initially.
Sixty-eight percent of college football fans said they supported the conference’s decision to cancel fall sports this fall in the poll run August 21-23. When it comes to Big Ten fans specifically, 71% of them supported the conference’s decision.
Fast-forward to a poll conducted September 18-20 and 58% of college football fans supported the conference’s decision to reverse course while a whopping 62% of Big Ten fans supported the move.
While a month between polls is a rather lengthy-time period, especially given the advancement in rapid-testing for athletes and staff, it’s interesting to see fans reverse their opinions just as the conference flipped its decision to play.
The poll also asked fans how significant certain factors played in the conference’s decision to play football this fall. According to those polled, money was the No. 1 driving factor with 47% of people saying money played a “very significant” role.
President Trump entered himself into the situation shortly before the Big Ten pulled its 180 by speaking with commissioner Kevin Warren. With that development, the majority of fans believe that Trump played a role in the Big Ten’s reversal. The poll revealed 53% of college football fans and 53% of Big Ten fans believed Trump was somewhat responsible for the change of heart.
The Big Ten will begin its eight-game, conference only schedule on October 24.