It's been more than a week now since the Big Ten shut down its fall season and, still, it's radio silence from the Big Ten offices in suburban Chicago.
"I am extremely frustrated because we still have very few answers to communicate to our young men and their families about their futures and very little understanding of the factors contributing to the decision," James Franklin said earlier this morning.
But -- hark! -- signs of life exist in Chicago. We have evidence that people are actually going into the Big Ten offices and producing work.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin parents have been briefed on a potential spring schedule, that would actually function more like a winter schedule.
It's unclear exactly how many games a winter season would entail (the best guess is eight) and when, exactly, it would begin (the NFL regular season ends Jan. 3). But the bones are similar to a plan that reportedly has NFL approval -- because it's the least disruptive to the NFL calendar -- and is a significant departure of the plan Purdue's Jeff Brohm pitched to the conference, where game weekends would not begin until the end of February and the fall 2021 season would be shortened by two games.
This plan would also utilize the indoor stadia within the Big Ten footprint, which are marked in brown below. (I also threw in Northern Iowa's UNI Dome just for fun.)
Most of the conference is within driving distance of Indianapolis's Lucas Oil Stadium, but those on the league's far eastern and western branches would need alternate arrangements.
As explained before, the strength of a January start is also its weakness.
The earlier you start, the less disruptive you are to the 2021 college and NFL seasons, and the more likely you are to get buy-in from top talent. But, that also cuts down the time needed for necessary medical and/or societal advancements for Big Ten medical experts and campus presidents to approve a winter season.
By January we'll know if the SEC, ACC and Big 12 were able to get their seasons off the ground -- and how long they were able to stay off the ground.
It's possible the Big Ten's "opening weekend" could serve as appetizer programming before a Clemson vs. Alabama national championship game. By that point, the league's coaches and players may well have stuffed their presidents and doctors in a locker and thrown away the key.
It's also possible those leagues are not successful in staging fall seasons, and the Big Ten could be first up in the war to win 2021.
Of course, none of this is confirmed or official yet. Presumably, at some point between now and January, a Big Ten official will offer some sort of on-the-record plan for the future.
Until then, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.