Midwest legislative leaders ask Big Ten commissioner to allow a fall sports season

House Speaker Lee Chatfield (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) give formal response to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's State of the State address.jpg
House Speaker Lee Chatfield (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R) joined leaders from five other Midwest states in a letter encouraging Big Ten to reconsider its fall sports season. (WWMT/File)

Midwest legislative leaders, including two from Michigan, sent a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on Tuesday, encouraging the conference to reconsider the fall sports season.

The Big Ten Conference officially postponed the 2020-21 fall sports season, including football and all tournaments, on Aug. 11, 2020.

In a letter sent to Warren on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield, Senate Leader Mike Shirkey, and leaders from five other Midwest states asked the conference to allow sports to return safely in the fall.

"These athletes are losing a vital part of student life and are becoming less marketable to future employers with each passing week. Additionally, our local universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships," the letter stated

Read the full letter:

Chatfield called the conference's current direction wrong for area universities and local students.

“As a former student athlete, a teacher, a coach, an athletic director, and now as a parent, I know how important sports can be to young people and their development. I also know how much support restarting football and other fall sports has among players, coaches, parents, and the many people who have reached out to our offices demanding a change. The Big Ten should reverse course as soon as possible and do everything possible to help their students restart extracurricular activities safely,” he said in a written statement.

Upset parents of Big Ten football players held a protest near the conference's Chicago-area headquarters Friday, Aug. 21.

A few carried "Let Them Play" signs and the group chanted, "Let us play!" similar to a demonstration at the Michigan Capitol building, where parents and players rallied to try and bring back high school sports in Michigan.