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ON THE FRONT LINES: Trump did not bring football back

On the Front Lines

Big Ten Conference football will return shortly, but President Donald J. Trump had nothing to do with it. – Photo by Flickr

I do not need to tell you that the first 2020 presidential debate was a bonafide disaster full of personal insults, misinformation and headache-inducing behavior.

As a sports editor, I do feel a responsibility to inform you about the sports-related lie told by our Commander-in-Chief during the uncivilized shouting match. "By the way, I brought back Big Ten football. It was me, and I'm very happy to do it and the people of Ohio are very proud of me," said President Donald J. Trump.

Well, that is actually fake news. He did have a phone call with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on Sept. 1, but it was not a major factor in their decision to bring back football this fall, according to an anonymous Big Ten Conference university president.

“President Trump had nothing to do with our decision and did not impact the deliberations,” he said. “In fact, when his name came up (in conversation among the 14 league presidents), it was a negative, because no one wanted this to be political”

On Sept. 16, the day the conference announced its decision, I wrote an article for the sports section detailing how the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force created a plan that includes daily COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for players and coaches.

The members of the Task Force are the ones that created the safety protocols and determined that it would be safe to resume play the weekend of Oct. 23. The members of the Task Force Executive Committee include the University of Wisconsin—Madison Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, Pennsylvania State University Athletics Vice President Sandy Barbour, Ohio State University head team physician Dr. Jim Borchers and Northwestern University Athletics Vice President Jim Phillips. 

Those people, along with Warren and everyone else working in the Task Force, are the ones who deserve the credit. It is interesting how the people who actually did the work do not feel the need to say “I brought football back.”

Anybody who takes a couple of minutes to research would understand who is actually responsible for the season occurring. The Task Force is an example of a group of people doing their job and not having the narcissistic tendency of begging for recognition. If only they behaved the same way in the White House.

Now, let us examine the “people of Ohio are very proud of me” portion of the statement. Obviously, Ohio is home to Ohio State University, which boasts one of the best football programs in the conference.

The Buckeye fans will surely be happy to see their team back on the field in a few weeks. But does that mean Ohioans believe Trump’s lie about bringing the season back, or that they even view him in a positive light?

Well, we cannot be sure whether they believe him about the football season, but we do know that the current polls in Ohio are neck and neck between him and Biden. Polls may not be a perfect source, but it is the best we have got at the moment.

Most polls (are) saying the race is too close to call," according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. On Tuesday, the Cook Political Report moved Ohio from leans Republican to a toss-up, noting Trump was underperforming among white, non-college voters compared to 2016. The poll on FiveThirtyEight had Biden ahead by 0.5 percent on Oct. 6.

Is it fair to say that the state is proud of Trump if only half of it supports him? We will see how well his comment ages come November.

This comment was one of many lies that Trump said that night, and it is important to do our own research so that we know the truth. I encourage you to check out more articles such as this one that fact-check statements made by both candidates.

In this age of widespread misinformation, it is imperative to read from reputable sources and not fall for “fake news.” Is it not ironic that the man who constantly complains about fake news spreads it the most?

Josh Valdez is the Sports editor for The Daily Targum.


Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.YOUR VOICE | The Daily Targum welcomes submissions from all readers. Due to space limitations in our print newspaper, letters to the editor must not exceed 900 words. Guest columns and commentaries must be between 700 and 900 words. All authors must include their name, phone number, class year and college affiliation or department to be considered for publication. Please submit via email to by 4 p.m. to be considered for the following day’s publication. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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