Randy Wade and other parents of Big Ten college football players want answers about why the league postponed the fall football season so early. They're going directly to the source.
Wade, the father of Ohio State star defensive back Shaun Wade, is planning to visit Big Ten headquarters in Rosemont, Illinois, on Friday morning. He's flying to Chicago on Thursday from Florida and expects other parents of Big Ten players to join him and seek specifics from league commissioner Kevin Warren.
"How many petitions must there be for the Big Ten to actually look into this?" Wade told ESPN on Tuesday. "We only have a certain amount of time to correct this, so we need to come together and show more unity and just make them uncomfortable, make them come out of their shells and give us some answers to some questions and hopefully rewind back and open things back up."
Parents of players from Ohio State, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State and other schools recently have written letters to Warren, asking for details about the league's decision to postpone. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields started a #WeWantToPlay petition Sunday that has received more than 268,000 signatures. The Big Ten is aware of the petition and the letters but has yet to comment publicly or meet with the players or parents.
The league on Aug. 11 became the first Power 5 conference to postpone the fall sports season because of health concerns around the coronavirus pandemic. The Pac-12 followed soon after.
"Why so early?" Wade said. "This is what we're going to be talking about up there. We're getting advancements in technology by the day. Why so early, why so quick to give up on the Big Ten and these kids' dreams?"
Wade said university presidents, athletic directors and coaches ultimately have a duty to support the Big Ten, adding that players and parents are the only ones who can truly enact change. Ohio State coach Ryan Day and his staff have publicly supported Fields' petition and the parent letter to the Big Ten, pledging to keep fighting for a fall season.
Wade also said he and other parents are open to revisiting a liability waiver for schools, which drew sharp criticism from politicians and the NCAA, which prohibited their use. Ohio State in June had athletes sign a "Buckeye Pledge" before resuming voluntary workouts.
"OK, if that's the only thing that you're concerned about, let us sign a waiver," Wade said. "That's simple. The NCAA, retract what they said and let us sign a waiver."
Wade tweeted his itinerary for the trip to Big Ten headquarters. He hopes Warren speaks to the parents before he has to travel. If not, he will show up at Warren's office with others.
See ya "Early Friday Morning" We gotta Fight and we can't let these young men FIGHT ALONE.... ALL BIG TEN FANS STAND UP.... pic.twitter.com/qjbaQVcRSX— Randy L Wade💯%🐐 f@❌ℹLy..... (@gslsff) August 18, 2020
"There's a lot of power in numbers," Wade said. "I'm hoping we can react and get up there and stir it up and make a change, hopefully. I'm hoping [Warren] reacts before Friday and says some things that satisfies us. That's my hope. We've got to put the pressure on to keep fighting.
"I know there's more important things going on in the world right now, but this is important to these kids."