Multiple head coaches from top programs in the Big Ten have said this week that they are willing to explore playing games outside the conference if need be, and James Franklin joined his colleagues on Tuesday.
Franklin was asked during an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” if he would consider putting together a non-Big Ten schedule for Penn State if the conference cancels its 2020 football season. The coach did not rule it out, noting that he will follow the guidance of medical professionals.
Penn State Head Coach James Franklin on the possibility of playing outside of the Big Ten if the conference cancels their season:
"I have a responsibility to my players and their families to exhaust every opportunity and option that's out there." pic.twitter.com/zCw2OzM0Jp
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) August 11, 2020
“If we can push things back, continue to gather information, and our trainers and doctors and all the medical personnel feel like this is something we could do and should do, I have a responsibility based on the feedback I’ve gotten from my players and (their) parents to explore any opportunity possible for our players to be able to continue to reach their dreams,” Franklin said. “Again, that’s on the advice of our players and the advice of (their) parents, but it’s got to be led by medical professionals.”
The Big Ten has yet to make an official announcement, but there have been reports that conference officials have already decided to cancel the season. In response to those reports, top players and coaches from across the country have started a “#WeWantToPlay” movement.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said Monday that he is committed to finding a way to play this season even if the Big Ten is not. Ohio State coach Ryan Day shared similar thoughts, and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh released a lengthy statement breaking down why he believes it would be safe to play football this year.
The Big Ten could potentially push back the start of the season in order to gather more information and data about the coronavirus pandemic. Franklin indicated he believes that is what the conference should do before making any final decisions.