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Dan Hope: Ohio State fans express 'a lot of anger, disappointment' with Big Ten

August 17, 2020

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Over the weekend, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields threw a Hail Mary for Buckeye fans, by attempting to save the 2020 season with an online petition.

Fields tweeted Sunday that “this cause is close to my heart” and urged people to sign the petition, which would allow Big Ten players and teams to make their own choices on if they wanted to play this season.

The petition states:

“We, the football players of the Big Ten, together with the fans and supporters of college football, request that the Big Ten Conference immediately reinstate the 2020 football season. Allow Big Ten players/teams to make their own choice as to whether they wish to play or opt out this fall season. Allow Big Ten players/teams who choose to opt out of playing a fall season to do so without penalty or repercussion.

Why is this important?

We want to play. We believe that safety protocols have been established and can be maintained to mitigate concerns of exposure to Covid 19. We believe that we should have the right to make decisions about what is best for our health and our future. Don’t let our hard work and sacrifice be in vain. #LetUsPlay!”

We caught up with’s Dan Hope before the petition was released to discuss the reaction from Ohio State fans after the Big Ten’s decision to end the year. Hope also gives us his thoughts on the ACC, SEC and Big 12’s decision to keep their fall season alive, for now.

Below are a few unedited highlights from the interview. The full audio is posted above:

Lawton Swann: Unprecedented. I mean, we’ve heard these words. I don’t think anybody really wanted to admit that we might cross the bridge that we crossed earlier in the week. What’s been the reaction in Columbus?

Dan Hope: “A lot of people are angry. A lot of people are disappointed, there’s no doubt about that. It is unprecedented. This will be the first time since 1889 that Ohio State has not had a fall football season. It’s certainly tough for Ohio State fans to accept that. I don’t think they’re going to really be able to accept it anytime soon. Because fall football, much like down there in Clemson, it’s such a way of life up here in Columbus. For Ohio State fans, especially when you see the ACC trying to push forward, the SEC trying to push forward, (the) Big 12 trying to push forward, a lot of people feel like the Big Ten might have pulled the plug sooner than they need to. So definitely a lot of anger, a lot of disappointment right now from Ohio State fans.”

LS: I talked with our contacts in Lincoln, Nebraska, earlier in the week as they were throwing a fit and say we’re going to play anybody. Ohio State sort of said we’re willing to keep playing. I know the Big Ten and Nebraska got in lockstep with one another. Is that still the conversation there in Columbus, or is everything, hey, we’re just going to do what we can to play in the spring?

Dan Hope: “Ohio State has now moved on to play in the spring. There were some conversations on Wednesday, I think with Big Ten, about seeing whether it would be possible for them to continue their season in some other form this fall, but they’ve since moved on to focus on the spring. So that’s where Ryan Day, Gene Smith, that’s what their focus is on. They’re hoping. There have been some talks today about multiple different options. Looks like the one that you know, maybe is favored right now, and that Ryan Day certainly is in support of is a model of trying to start in January and playing eight games, wrapping up sometime in March.”

LS: If you look at Ohio State, they were number two in the country, in the coaches poll, expectations through the roof a possible matchup with Clemson (with) the rematch from a year ago in the Fiesta Bowl and all that was on the table. When we look at it right now, I asked Dabo Swinney yesterday about the legitimacy of the season, and he said, ‘hey, whoever wins it, the champs the champ no matter who’s playing,’ what are your thoughts?

Dan Hope: “Yeah, I mean, I think this is an unprecedented year. We’re gonna get what we’re gonna get at this point. And I think, no matter what happens at this point, there’s going to be people who put an asterisk on whatever season there is just because it’s not going to be a complete season. I mean, no matter what we see at this point, you know, even if those conferences proceed forward with what they have, it’ll still be a shortened season with not everybody playing. Certainly, if things move to the spring for everybody, that’s not going to look normal. So I think there’s going to be an asterisk attached to the season somewhat no matter what happens, but yeah, you got to play the games you play. So, if I were Dabo Swinney, if I were Nick Saban, that would be my mindset too, because you can’t control you can’t worry about what the Big Ten and the PAC 12 is doing. If the ACC says you’re going to go play this year, well, then that’s where your focus has got to be.”

LS: And I think about those players, you brought them up a minute ago, and whether it’s Justin Fields or Master Teague or whoever, are any of these guys looking to transfer as you are aware, is that an option for them at this point?

Dan Hope: “As far as I know, I haven’t heard anything about transfers, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But as far as I know, as of right now, I haven’t heard anything about anybody looking to transfer. In terms of whether that’s an option, I think that’s tough to say. Ryan Day was asked about it yesterday, and he said that he’s sure that his players are going to hear from other coaches because he’s got a lot of talented players. But (he also) made the point that if those teams play in the fall, they’d only have a few weeks if they were going to transfer somewhere, to get used to somewhere and obviously to at this point, most teams have full 85 man rosters, so there’s not a lot of open spots out there for guys to just transfer. I think it’s a nice idea. But I think ultimately for most guys, that probably would not be the right move. So I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw somebody try it. I think someone like Justin Fields for him it would be a decision of either you try to play a spring season if that’s something you want to do, or you go to the NFL because I think someone like him, someone like Shawn Wade, those guys don’t need to bother with transferring somewhere else. Those are guys who can already go play in the NFL if that’s what they’re ready to do.”

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Dan Hope: Ohio State fans express 'a lot of anger, disappointment' with Big Ten

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