Let me get to the bottom line right up front: that the Big Ten rearranged its predetermined rules to allow Ohio State to play in the Big Ten Championship Game, despite not technically qualifying for it, is a huge black eye on the conference.
Some would argue that the conference is basically out of eyes to blacken at this point, between prematurely canceling the 2020 season, then bringing it back but without any chance for any team to make up any game throughout the season, but the point stands.
For those unsure of what I’m talking about, allow me to elucidate.
When the Big Ten opted to return to action in 2020, they laid forth a bunch of rules regarding COVID, when a team would be unable to play, and the schedule itself. One of the rules - which all of the teams agreed to - specified that in order to qualify for the championship game, a team needed to have at least six (6) games under their belt.
Now, here we are, heading into the final weekend of the regular season, and Ohio State is sitting at 5-0, and their game against Michigan canceled.
So what did the Big Ten do? Let a team lower in the standings - who actually effectively managed the pandemic, and didn’t have any games canceled as a result - end up being the East representative in the game? Don’t be silly! Instead they opted to change the rules - which were preemptively agreed upon by all teams - to allow Ohio State to play.
The lack of ethics boggles the mind. The utter money grubbing nature of this ploy is revolting. The sheer favoritism implemented by the conference isn’t even thinly veiled at this point.
Let me set one thing straight - Ohio State is a damn good football team. They most likely are one of the top 4 teams in the country, and wouldn’t be completely embarrassed in a playoff game.
But there’s more to 2020 than just football. In this case, the conference ended up rewarding a team that was cavalier in their handling of the pandemic.
Rules are rules. You can’t agree to rules ahead of time, and then, when things don’t go the way you want them to, change the rules to fit your need at the time. The conference made its bed, and it should have slept in it.
Anything less is sheer hypocrisy, and at this point, I wouldn’t expect anything less.