Saban supports Big Ten decision to return: 'Everybody is supposed to play'
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Alabama head coach Nick Saban believes the Big Ten's decision to play in the fall was the right thing to do for college football and especially student-athletes.

"That's my No. 1 thing, that the players get to play, but it's also good for the game," Saban told Chris Low of ESPN. "It's the way the game is supposed to be. Everybody is supposed to play. The more people that play, the better it is for everybody, the more representative it is.

"I feel bad for those players that aren't getting to play, and I don't care if they're at Kent State or Ohio State. I know how hard players work, how much they love to compete, how much being a part of the team means to a lot of the players."

Three Power 5 conferences (SEC, ACC, and Big 12) adjusted its schedules to host football seasons in the fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the Big Ten and Pac-12 initially postponed its campaigns.

However, both conferences changed courses. The Big Ten recently announced it'll start a delayed season in late-October, and the Pac-12 has made a strong push regarding its return to play.

Saban admitted he was afraid football wouldn't be played this year, and he doesn't think conferences would have changed direction if it wasn't for the student-athletes.

"I was worried and really thought we probably weren't going to play right around the time the Big Ten pulled out and made their announcement," Saban said. "To be honest, if some of the players - (Clemson quarterback) Trevor Lawrence, (Alabama running back) Najee Harris, and that group - didn't come out and say they wanted to play, I'm not sure we would be playing."

Lawrence previously said he never strongly considered opting out of the 2020 season, while Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields created an online petition in August calling for the Big Ten's fall football schedule's reinstatement.

There have been many college football players deciding to skip the upcoming campaign due to COVID-19 concerns. However, multiple student-athletes have recently expressed desire to opt back in, including Ohio State cornerback Shaun Wade and Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

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Saban supports Big Ten decision to return: 'Everybody is supposed to play'
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