By Aidan McHenry, Staff Reporter
The Big Ten Conference reversed its original postponement of the fall football season on Sept. 16, 2020. Teams will now begin to play football on Oct. 24.
All teams will compete in conference-exclusive schedules.
Following the announcement, multiple Big Ten stars, who had originally opted out of the season to prepare for the NFL draft, have opted back in. The two biggest names to do so are Ohio State’s right guard, Wyatt Davis and cornerback Shaun Wade.
Minnesota’s potential first-round wide receiver Rashod Bateman has expressed a desire to return, but his NCAA eligibility has been compromised because he hired an agent.
With the Big Ten’s return, star quarterback Justin Fields and Ohio State re-entered the College Football Playoff picture. They were amongst the favorites for the national title before the Big Ten’s postponement.
Another potential first-round pick, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, a key player to their defense, opted out. He has not made any official announcements since the season was reopened, but head coach James Franklin has left the door open for him if he decides to return. Parsons, like Bateman, has hired an agent, therefore the NCAA must reinstate him if he elects to return. If he decides to continue training for the NFL Draft, his presence will surely be missed by the Nittany Lions’ defense.
The other Big Ten players who opted out to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft are Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore, Northwestern offensive tackle Rashawn Slater, and Michigan cornerback Ambry Thomas and offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield.
According to Sports Illustrated, Mayfield, Thomas, and Slater all have hired agents. Moore has less standing in the way of a return without an agent if he decides to opt back in. He is another projected high round draft pick out of the Big Ten. In Moore’s opt-out announcement, he added that he would be on track to graduate by December, despite being only a true junior. Upon graduation, he would be eligible to participate in Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Bateman, Parsons, Moore, Slater, Thomas, and Mayfield have big decisions with a renewed Big Ten football season on the horizon.
Fields started a petition to reinstate the Big Ten season in August, and now it’s back, and he once again has a chance to win the national title he was one game away from in December 2019.