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Indiana denies covering Big Ten logo for bowl game is a form of protest

Sporting News logo Sporting News 1/2/2021 Dan Bernstein

Indiana coach Tom Allen on Friday night denied the decision to cover up the Big Ten logo on his team's uniforms during the Outback Bowl was related to being controversially left out of the Big Ten championship game.

Images shared on social media earlier Friday showed an Outback Bowl patch obscuring the Big Ten logo on the front of Indiana's jersey and the acronym "LEO" (short for Love Each Other) replacing the league's helmet insignia. The Big Ten kept Indiana out of its title contest in favor of Ohio State despite the Buckeyes not meeting the predetermined requirement for games played. Ohio State defeated Northwestern for the conference crown to secure a College Football Playoff bid.

“To clarify what we are wearing on our uniform and helmet for tomorrow’s Outback Bowl: since I took over as Indiana head coach, this program’s mantra has been LEO, Love Each Other," Allen wrote in a statement. "We did not intend to show any disrespect to anyone. We are a proud member of the Big Ten and are always representing our conference, LEO is the foundation of our program and we want to bring in 2021 focusing on our team and Love Each Other. LEO!”

With a 6-1 record, Indiana holds its best winning percentage since 1945. It will face Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl on Saturday.

If Indiana was trying to issue a rebuke to the Big Ten, it wouldn't be the first time the conference has been attacked by its own members this season. Several teams, including Ohio State, Nebraska and Penn State, loudly lobbied for the league to resume football activity when it initially shut down the campaign amid COVID-19 concerns. The Big Ten began its 2020 schedule on Oct. 24 — a month after the SEC and six weeks after the ACC and Big 12.

While denying disrespect from its uniforms, Indiana has not explained why the Big Ten patch is not visible.


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