Washington — President Trump revealed Thursday he offered Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren help with coronavirus testing after the conference canceled its college football season this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview with Fox Sports’ Clay Travis for his radio show “Outkick The Coverage,” the president confirmed he spoke with Warren following the Big Ten’s to postpone the season and offered assistance. The president did not offer specifics about how the White House would help secure tests and didn’t reveal whether Warren accepted his offer.
“I said, ‘Kevin, look, we’ll help you with testing. We’ll get you everything that you need,'” Mr. Trump recalled telling Warren. “But you got to get it back for those states. Those states want it. They’re real football states.”
The president said he is now pushing his focus to the Pacific 12 Conference, which also canceled its fall college football season.
“Now we’re going to work on Pac-12,” he said. “There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be playing.”
ABC News reported Wednesday that the White House offered to provide the Big Ten with enough coronavirus tests to green-light the season as Mr. Trump urged the schools in the conference to play this fall. The Big Ten instead procured tests from a private company, according to ABC News.
Of the Power Five conferences, the Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 opted to move forward with football seasons this fall, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 voted to postpone play due to concerns about player safety.
The decision from the Big Ten, which includes powerhouse schools like Penn State, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, prompted pushback from Mr. Trump and other Republican lawmakers, who urged the conference to reconsider. Coaches and players also mounted a campaign aimed at pressuring the Big Ten to change course.
On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced it had reversed its decision to cancel its fall football season and said play would begin October 23. The conference rolled out new medical protocols for players, coaches and trainers, and is requiring daily coronavirus testing for anyone on the field for practices or games. Test results must be completed before stepping on the field, and any student-athlete who tests positive cannot return to play for 21 days. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus are also required to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing.
Mr. Trump hailed the decision by the Big Ten on Twitter, saying it’s “my great honor to have helped.” The conference includes schools located in several states that will be key for the president’s reelection, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio.