Husker Football Players Sue Big Ten Over Fall Season Cancellation

August 27, 2020 - 6:00pm

Eight Husker football players are suing the Big Ten Conference, asking a judge to invalidate the decision to cancel the fall athletic season. The athletes filed the lawsuit in Lancaster County Thursday.

The court filing alleges the Big Ten Conference violated its own rules that require a vote on any decision that significantly changes the season.

In a court hearing Thursday, attorney Mark Laughlin said they don’t believe the Big Ten voted on the cancellation decision – and they’re asking for proof of the vote.

"We’re just asking hey, is there a formal vote? And if there was, who voted which way?" Laughlin said.

The lawsuit points to public statements from officials at the University of Minnesota and Michigan State saying that vote never happened.

Big Ten Attorney Andrew Luger says there was a vote, but releasing those documents would set a precedent that would cause incredible harm.

"They’re asking, essentially, for this court to make its own decision and to overrule that decision by a governing body," Luger said. "And there’s no precedent for it and we’ll be able to show in a motion to dismiss that this case has no merit."

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said, unrelated to the lawsuit, that there was a vote. And although he voted against cancelling the season, he says medical advisors presented evidence that uncertainty about the pandemic was growing rather than reducing.

"The other issues were around testing and tracing, and the ability to have the capacity to do that at the level that many felt we were going to need to have: 2-3 tests per athlete per week, and contact tracing associated with that," Green said. "I think there was considerable concern about capacity."

Judge Susan Strong said the Big Ten has until Monday at 5 p.m. to respond to the request for documents.



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