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Vos, Fitzgerald call on Big Ten to resume 2020 season

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Posted at 3:13 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 22:10:09-04

MADISON — Wisconsin's top GOP leaders have pledged their support to an effort to resume the Big Ten football season this fall.

Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald signed a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on Tuesday, in which ten lawmakers from several states called the Big Ten to reconsider the conference's earlier decision to postpone the season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the letter, the lawmakers argue that players in the Big Ten are now at a disadvantage, compared to other conferences that have decided to play out the season.

"These athletes are losing a vital part of student life and are becoming less marketable to future employees with each passing week," they write.

Lawmakers from Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota and Pennsylvania also signed the letter.

The lawmakers continue that Big Ten universities stand to lose millions of dollars, some of which contributes to student scholarships.

The lawmakers cite that Ben Ten athletic programs are "leading the way" by providing outstanding health and safety protocols, "yet somehow the conference has decided to cast it aside anyway."

"The support among players, parents, coaches and fans is overwhelming," they conclude in the letter to the Big Ten. "Therefore, we respectfully ask that you take their concerns to heart and work with the leadership at our universities to allow sports to continue safety this fall."

Big Ten announced the postponement of the 2020-2021 season on Aug. 11., citing the ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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, at the time.

“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,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin released a statement Tuesday, saying: "The Big 10 made the decision because Donald Trump, Fitzgerald, and Vos failed to take meaningful steps to contain COVID-19 and ensure student athletes could compete safely. This is costing local Wisconsin businesses millions of dollars in combined revenue as well as squandering the experience of current and new students."

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