DeSantis pushes for football, while two college conferences punt the season to spring

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 3:21 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped onto Albert J. Dunlap Athletic Training Facility at Florida State with one clear message.

“We’re here to say, from the state of Florida, we want you guys to play,” DeSantis said during his news conference on Tuesday.

“The environment that sports provides at a place like Florida State is a safer environment for these kids than what they would have if they didn’t have access to this environment,” DeSantis added. ”We believe that discussions about short-circuiting the season are entirely misplaced, and I support Florida State continuing with the season, as I do all the sports throughout the state of Florida,”

Hours after DeSantis press conferences, two college football conferences made the decision to pull the plug on a fall football season, punting the season to the spring.

The Big Ten was rumored to be cancelling its season on Monday but told reporters that no vote had taken place. But hours after DeSantis made his argument on Florida State’s campus, the B1G conference decided to punt its football season to the spring, cancelling its fall sports lineup.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President in a statement.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” added Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.

“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult.

“While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Just a little over an hour later the PAC-12 made its own decision to postpone the football season to the spring.

The Florida Gators will still have to wait for the Southeastern Conference to make its decision in relation to the season.

“Our medical advisory group has said, ‘Yes we can continue to go forward,’” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday. “Should that advice change, that would certainly be a stopping point.”

ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum believes the SEC will act independently on playing games this fall.

“There is plenty of pushback,” Finebaum said on ESPN’s Get Up this week. “I talked to an SEC source yesterday, who said ‘we’re still planning on playing. We have our schedule release coming up in a couple of days.’ Remember, Friday night, the SEC released the two additional conference games.

“It just shows the incredible disconnect that we’ve talked about for three months that has now mushroomed … As someone else told me this morning, the college football season is not dead. It’s only on life support right now.”

Florida State defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and wide receiver Keyshawn Helton joined DeSantis during his press conference earlier on Tuesday to discuss what college football means to them and why they want to play.

The Florida governor argued once again that Florida and Florida State should renew their rivalry this year - the game was canceled after the SEC decided to play a 10-game, conference only schedule.

"I'm totally supportive of making that happen," DeSantis said.

“I know the players want to play the game. I know the coaches want to play the game. Everyone would want to do it.”

Copyright 2020 WCJB. All rights reserved.

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