Indiana coach Tom Allen denied the decision to cover up the Big Ten logo on his team's uniforms during the Outback Bowl on Friday night because he was controversially banned from the Big Ten championship game.
Images shared on social media on 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), which the helmet badges the league replaced. The Big Ten kept Indiana out of their title contest in favor of Ohio State, even though the Buckeyes did not meet the specified requirements for games played. The state of Ohio defeated Northwestern for the conference crown to secure an offer for the college football playoffs.
"To clarify what we're wearing on our uniforms and helmets for tomorrow's Outback Bowl, since I took over as head coach of Indiana, the mantra of this program has been LEO, Love Each Other," Allen wrote in a statement Don't show disrespect to anyone. We are a proud member of the Big Ten and we always represent our conference. LEO is the basis of our program and we want to bring the focus on our team and love for one another in 2021. LION!"
With a 6-1 record, Indiana holds its best share of the profit since 1945. On Saturday it will meet Ole Miss in the Outback Bowl.
Indiana appears to have removed Big Ten references from its Outback Bowl ???? uniforms
The B1G patch is covered by the Outback Bowl patch and the B1G sticker on the helmet is gone.
Ole Miss' Outback Bowl patch does not cover the SEC patch. pic.twitter.com/xD4JUH95Uw
– Sporting News (@sportingnews) January 1, 2021
If Indiana tried to reprimand 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, were vocal in campaigning for the league to resume football activities when it initially closed the campaign on COVID-19 concerns. The Big Ten began their 2020 schedule on October 24th – a month after the SEC and six weeks after the ACC and the Big 12.
Indiana denies disregard for its uniforms but has not explained why the Big Ten patch is not visible.