Amid rumors that the Big Ten and Pac-12 could announce the postponement or cancellations of their football seasons on Tuesday because of the worsening coronavirus pandemic, University of Tennessee Chancellor Donde Plowman hinted via Twitter that the Volunteers will play home games at Neyland Stadium this fall.
The tweets came after Plowman met with members of the Tennessee team:
This afternoon, I met with our football team and staff to have an open conversation about playing football this fall. At the end of our discussion, I asked if they wanted to play football and the answer was a resounding YES. pic.twitter.com/cg9AFw4J86— Donde Plowman (@DondePlowman) August 10, 2020
This group of student-athletes have worked hard to prepare for the season amidst detailed and strict healthy and safety protocols. I can’t wait to see them on the field in Neyland Stadium. pic.twitter.com/1vX7FV9IMO— Donde Plowman (@DondePlowman) August 10, 2020
Also on Monday, Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith told ESPN's Chris Low that he wants to play this season even though he once suffered from blood clots in his lungs and, thus, is considered high-risk for COVID-19.
"It would tick me off to my core if we're snubbed and that opportunity gets taken away from me to go out there and prove myself," Smith said. "I'm not knocking any president or chancellor, who absolutely do fabulous jobs, but it would be awesome as players if we could be informed and heard from and quit finding out things about the season possibly being canceled on Twitter and in the media."
"I want to play. I want to play safely, and that's the consensus across the sport and all the guys I talk to. We all want to play the game of football that we love. We're all out here working our butts off in this hot sun and trying to get better at our craft and perfect our craft.
"I hope people see that side of it, and for the season to be in jeopardy like this ... is really disappointing."
Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for college football occurring this fall. Meanwhile, Nebraska Cornhuskers coach Scott Frost defiantly suggested his team could play outside of the Big Ten if the league cancels its planned conference-only football calendar.