In accordance with the statements made by President George W. Bush to move on from Tuesday’s tragedy, the Big Ten has decided to proceed with all scheduled athletic events.
Along with most conference events, the Minnesota football team will play host to Baylor on Saturday at 7 p.m. as originally scheduled.
“The president has suggested that rather than be paralyzed, we should resume our activities and we should go forward with resolve and show the world that these kinds of events can’t destroy our will and resolve,” athletics director Tom Moe said. “In a very small way we feel that resuming our activities on this campus and throughout our conference and throughout our country, we can contribute to this act of resolve and the support in response to these cowardly acts.”
The Big Ten released a statement on Wednesday evening, after a full day of discussion between athletics directors and conference administrators, announcing all Big Ten events will be played as scheduled, unless a game is canceled by mutual agreement between a Big Ten team and its opponent.
The announcement also stated the Big Ten would agree to suspend all athletics activities on Friday for the national day of mourning.
Minnesota coach Glen Mason expressed his concern for those involved in the tragedy, but agrees with the decision to play on Saturday.
“Terrorism is not going to keep us from going about what we normally do,” Mason said.
Mason’s team now has to adjust its focus to Baylor rather than the national crisis.
The athletes themselves are happy to know they will be playing on Saturday.
“It’s good because we’ve been practicing all week,” quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq said. “I’m glad we’re not wasting a week of practice for no reason. Like the President said, you must go on.”
Not only does the team feel somewhat relieved to know they are playing, safety Jack Brewer thinks playing on Saturday will give everyone something to keep their minds off of what happened this week.
“This tragedy will be on our minds forever,” Brewer said. “But at the same time, this is an opportunity for us as athletes, the fans, and everybody around sports to get their mind off of the tragedy right now and just to use it as a time to free your mind and relax.”
The Big East, Pac-10 and ACC have elected to postpone their conference games this weekend.
The Big Ten joins the SEC, Big 12, Mid-American, Conference USA, Mountain West, and WAC in deciding to play games on Saturday with only a few exceptions.
The Minnesota athletics department will remember those involved in the tragedies at all events this weekend. American flags will be sold prior to the football game at the Metrodome.
“We feel very strongly that we have to move on and we have to show resolve,” Moe said. “We mourn terribly for the families and for the victims, but by the same token I think it’s important that we also show the terrorists they can’t beat us.”
Anthony Maggio covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]daily.com