The Big Ten is officially moving its college football season to the spring.
After rumors of a cancellation spread on Sunday evening and into Monday, the Big Ten has instead decided to postpone the fall season and attempt to play in the spring.
“The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the league wrote in a press release. “In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.”
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.
The fall sports included in this announcement are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.
The Big Ten becomes the first Power Five conference to postpone the season, while the Ivy League, MAC, and Mountain West Conference, along with individual programs such as UCONN and Old Dominion all decided to cancel its fall football season.
Among other Power Five conferences, the Pac-12 is expected to follow the Big Ten’s lead, with Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports reporting that an announcement could come as early as today.
Meanwhile, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC are all planning to move forward with football as planned.
General consensus in college sports is Pac 12 will follow soon, perhaps today. The ACC, B12 and SEC will continue forward with football, at least for now (everything can change with the virus).
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) August 11, 2020
Monday evening, Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger broke the news that the American Athletic Conference is planning to play its 2020 season as scheduled, with Stadium insider Brett McMurphy also reporting that the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA are also moving forward with the season.