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influencing Big Ten's decision to bring back

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President Trump takes credit for influencing Big Ten's decision to bring back fall football

Pete ThamelYahoo SportsSep 16, 2020, 10: 00 PM

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The formal announcement of the Big Ten once again playing football this fall brings the return of the sport as a presidential election talking point for Donald Trump.

With the election looming in early November, the key swath of swing states where the election is expected to be decided are located in the Big Ten’s footprint. And for the past month, Trump has pushed and prodded the Big Ten to change its stance on playing football this fall, including having a conversation with commissioner Kevin Warren.

On Twitter on Wednesday morning, Trump cast himself as the hero in the Big Ten's return: "It is my great honor to have helped!!! " He added that it was "great news" that the sport was returning.



Even as recently as Tuesday night, Trump told ABC News: “I’m pushing very hard for Big Ten, I want to see Big Ten open — let the football games — let them play sports. ”

Even with improper syntax, Trump's point is clear. It was easy to see that the return of the Big Ten is going to become a political talking point again, as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania all loom as key battleground states for Trump and challenger Joe Biden.

“It’ll certainly be a talking point, but I don’t think it’ll be a tipping point, ” said Kent Hance, a former congressman from Texas and ex-chancellor at Texas Tech who practices law with Hance Scarborough, an Austin-Washington D. C. law and lobbying firm. “But if the election is close enough, anything and everything is a tipping point.

President Donald Trump gives thumbs up after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Washington. Trump is returning from Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump has pushed for the Big Ten to play this fall. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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On Sept. 1, Trump held a phone call with Warren. They spoke about the potential availability of daily rapid testing. A few days earlier, he tweeted: “Disgraceful that Big Ten is not playing football. Let them PLAY! ” Two weeks before that, Trump said in a radio interview that it would be “tragic” if the conference didn’t play this season.

The fact that the Big Ten didn’t use the federal government to secure testing likely won’t sway Trump from declaring political victory with the Big Ten’s return to play.

“The Camp David Accords didn’t help Jimmy Carter and the fall of the Berlin Wall didn’t help George H. W. Bush, ” said James Carville, a longtime political strategist and ardent college football fan. “I don’t think Big Ten football is really going to help Trump. I’m sure Trump will try and take credit for it, but the election is going to be about more than that. ”

Per NBC News’ Peter Alexander, a Big Ten president involved in the decision said Trump “had nothing to do with our decision and did not impact the deliberations. In fact, when his name came up, it was a negative because no one wanted this to be political. ”

The league initially announced on Aug. 11 that it was postponing the fall season because of health concerns in the wake of COVID-19. Eight days after that, Warren insisted in a statement that the decision “will not be revisited. ” That formally got reversed on Wednesday, with the league planning to start Oct. 24 and adding sophisticated medical protocols that include daily rapid testing.






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