With the earlier cancellation announcement of fall sports by the Big Ten Conference, a shock-wave was sent through the Wisconsin Badgers athletic department.
With so many questions still to be answered, one of the most recognizable figures at Wisconsin — head football coach Paul Chryst — joined the media to discuss the fallout from the decision Tuesday afternoon.
To open up his press conference Chryst discussed how proud he was of his team given all of the uncertainty. He joined us on the heels of a virtual team meeting that the players and coaches were able to discuss everything that transpired over the past couple days.
Chryst continued by saying that they have really been seeking certainty, and that today’s announcement gave them that, albeit an unfortunate result.
Paul Chryst on eligibility: "That is something that has to be discussed in terms of spring season."— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 11, 2020
"They don't want to waste a year. They don't want to waste an opportunity."
Paul sees his role to speak and advocate for the players. Common discussion point moving forward.
In terms of recruiting, Chryst stated that this has had an impact on kids coming in, and kids that we are recruiting. He went on to say that everyone is going through it, and it is our job to continue recruiting effectively...“the end game is no different.”
Paul Chryst acknowledged that players being poached from rosters is a concern, and that it is going on. "To think that's not happening is naive."— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 11, 2020
But he has not yet had anyone talk to him about it yet.
Chryst went on to say that the focus is now on “what do you want the fall to look like” and that then they will focus forward what the spring will look like. He brought up some different options that he thinks would be good such as some exhibition games.
However, Chryst did state that he has concerns about a spring season, saying it’s hard to play two seasons in a year with how physical the game is. Maybe exhibition games such as what he outlined would make the most sense.
Paul Chryst said that the spring could have some preseason type games, and to play in different stadiums that they haven't been to before.— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 11, 2020
Chryst said that the players and coaches are very disappointed, but that the players get the big picture. The coaching staff and players discussed since June that the option of cancelling the season and punting to the spring was one of three possibilities, so that this was not out of nowhere for them as a group. He carried on by saying he didn’t make the decision to do this, but that he knows that a lot of people are disappointed, fans included.
A common thread throughout his 30 minutes with the media was the topic of eligibility though, saying “that is something that has to be discussed in terms of spring season. They (players) don’t want to waste a year. They don’t want to waste an opportunity.” Chryst reiterated though that he sees his role to speak and advocate for the players.
He sees this issue as a common discussion point moving forward, and one that he and his players are watching.
Paul Chryst said that eligibility is the No. 1 question right now in terms of seniors being able to stay and underclassmen. Lots of uncertainty, and how it impacts eligibility is up in the air.— Matt Belz (@savedbythebelz) August 11, 2020
"Our department has done everything for the group, and I appreciate that."
More decisions and news will undoubtedly trickle out over the coming days and weeks that hopefully will answer some of the lingering questions that still remain surrounding the absence of fall sports at Wisconsin.