From Iowa to Florida, parents of Big Ten athletes from all around the United States convened outside the athletic conference's headquarters in suburban Rosemont Friday, seeking more information about the decision to cancel sports for the fall.
Approximately 30 people gathered in a grassy area across from the Big Ten headquarters in the morning hours, wearing school jerseys and hoping to make the athletic conference feel uncomfortable.
"Our kids wear Big Ten on them," said protest organizer Randy Wade, the father of Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade. "We represent the Big Ten. It's just not a good thing to have a kid disappointed over a thing he can't control."
Parents said they understand the risk their children will face and don't necessarily disagree with the decision itself, which was imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic.
They simply want to know how the decision to postpone the fall season was made.
"We just want to have some answers for kids... ten young men," said Candace Wilson, the mother of a Big Ten athlete. "Because they have just done what they have been asked and are trying to understand."
In a statement to NBC 5, a spokesperson said Friday afternoon that "we understand the disappointment and deep emotions felt by our student-athletes and their families and share their goal of returning to competition as soon as the pandemic allows us to do so safely."
Originally the conference had hoped to play a 10-game football schedule for the 2020 season, with teams only taking on conference opponents. However, that changed in early August.
If things proceed according to plans, players are expected to take the field in the spring.
Men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball are all impacted by the decision.