COLUMBUS (WCMH) — President Donald Trump brought back football, at least according to him.
During Tuesday’s first debate of the presidential election, while discussing the economy, Trump mentioned how he brought back the economy following the spring shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“By the way, I brought back Big Ten football,” the president said. “It was me, and I’m very happy to do it and the people of Ohio are very proud of me,” before being drowned out by moderator Chris Wallace trying to get the debate back on topic.
The Big Ten announced on Sept. 16 that it would start a nine-week season beginning Oct. 23.
Trump tweeted that day: “Great News: BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK. All teams participate. Thank you to the players, coaches, parents, and all school representatives. Have a FANTASTIC SEASON! It is my great honor to have helped.”
It was a moment that could help Trump on the margins in key states such as Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin where schools are now scheduled to play their first games less than two weeks before Election Day, said Alex Conant, a Republican strategist.
At least one Big Ten university president said Trump had nothing to do with the decision.
“President Trump had nothing to do with our decision and did not impact the deliberations,” said the president of a Big Ten university who asked not to be identified. “In fact, when his name came up, it was a negative, because no one wanted this to be political.”