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Top Republicans Gazelka, Daudt join call for Big Ten to play fall football

By Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio News

 

Two of Minnesota’s top Republican state legislators are calling on the Big Ten Conference to reconsider its plan to postpone the fall football season.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, and House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, signed a letter along with other Republican legislative leaders from Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin seeking the reversal.

The conference is concerned about COVID-19. But Gazelka said he doesn’t believe playing the football games would be dangerous.

“Sports in general I think are important for kids of all ages, including college, to be participating in,” Gazelka said. “The risk outdoors of playing football is small.”

In a letter to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, signed by Gazleka and others, the lawmakers said that “athletes are losing a vital part of student life,” and “universities stand to lose millions of dollars.”

Gazelka wants the games played, but he is less certain about allowing fans into stadiums to watch the games.

“I’m certainly willing for people to explore what’s the safest way to do that and whether they want to do that or not do that,” he said.