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Protests, petitions and presidential pleas: A timeline of the Big Ten's football saga

Here's a timeline of events from the Big Ten's deliberations about whether to play fall football:

June 4: Michigan State announces student-athletes in football and men’s and women’s basketball can return to campus for voluntary workouts beginning June 15.

June 13: Michigan football players return to campus for voluntary workouts.

June 15: Michigan State football players, along with men’s and women’s basketball players, return to campus for voluntary workouts.

June 25: Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel says at UM Regents meeting the athletic department projects a $26.1 million deficit for fiscal year 2021.

June 29: Manuel, football coach Jim Harbaugh, men’s basketball coach Juwan Howard accept a 10% pay cut. Also, full-time staff members earning between $50,000 and $100,000 see their salaries reduced 5%, and employees earning between $100,001 and $150,000 take a 7.5% cut.

July 9: Big Ten announces that if it plays in the fall, it will do so following conference-only schedules.

July 22: Michigan State’s football program begins a 14-day quarantine after two staffers test positive for COVID-19.

July 28: Four Michigan athletic programs shut down workouts, but not football.

Aug. 5: Michigan State football resumes voluntary workouts after 14-day quarantine.

Aug. 7: Michigan and Michigan State open football camp.

Aug. 10: Harbaugh shares an open letter making a case for football to be played and says his team has followed protocols. "This isn’t easy. This is hard," he says. "We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play."

Michigan player Aidan Hutchinson, center, marches with Peach Pagano, left, and Chris Hutchinson, right, earlier this month to protest the postponed football season.

Aug. 10: Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman tells the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce that MSU stands to lose $80 million to $85 million if football is not played.

Aug. 11: Big Ten postpones fall sports, followed hours later by the Pac-12. Harbaugh reacts to postponement of fall sports saying: “Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete. … I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.”

Aug. 13: Beekman tells reporters cutting sports is not out of the question.

Aug. 15: Parents from five Big Ten schools, including Michigan, send letters to commissioner Kevin Warren, requesting the reinstatement of fall football.

Aug. 16: Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields launches his #WeWantToPlay petition, which garners more than 300,000 signatures.

Aug. 21: More than two dozen parents of Big Ten players protest outside the Big Ten headquarters in suburban Chicago.

Aug. 26: Parents from 11 Big Ten schools, including Michigan and Michigan State, send another letter to Warren, requesting the season be reinstated.

Aug. 27: Eight Nebraska football players file suit against the Big Ten, seeking documents used to make the decision to postpone.

Aug. 31: The Big Ten responds to the Nebraska lawsuit, revealing for the first time presidents voted 11-3 to postpone. Three presidents and chancellors, though, suggest an actual vote never took place.

Sept. 1: Manuel announces the athletic department will cut 21 positions on top of 15 that remain unfilled. He says the department could lose $100 million if there's no football this season.

Sept. 1: President Donald Trump jumps into the Big Ten fray, tweeting about a conversation he had with Warren. He says reinstatement is on the "one-yard line."

Sept. 2: Michigan players say Harbaugh told them before practice they could be playing in early October.

Sept. 5: Harbaugh attends Michigan parent-run #WeWanttoPlay protest the day the Wolverines would have opened the revised schedule at home against Purdue. “I would have rather been coming to a game than a rally, but it definitely hits you," he says. "We should've been playing a game today.”

Sept. 5: President Trump tweets again, suggesting governors in Michigan, Maryland and Illinois are holding up Big Ten football. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she agreed with the Big Ten's decision, but had nothing to do with it.

Sept. 9: Ohio attorney general Dave Yost suggests Ohio State could sue over the Big Ten's decision to postpone, citing "breach of contract."

Sept. 11: Nebraska attorney general Doug Peterson sends a letter to the Big Ten, suggesting litigation if the Big Ten doesn't reverse course.

Sept. 13: Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet to review updated medical information provided by the conference's team of experts.

Sept. 16: The Big Ten reinstates fall football, with an eight-game, conference-only regular-season schedule with no fans allowed other than families. The other fall sports remain on hold.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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