It’s here. The day we’ve all been dreading.
The Big Ten has cancelled the fall 2020 college football season, with the hope of playing a season in the spring.
The full statement from the Big Ten:
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.
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 Conference is proud of its 14 world-class research institutions and has leveraged their resources and expertise to address this pandemic over the past five months. The Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee have engaged in extensive research and sharing of materials and conversations with federal, state and local government agencies, and professional and international sports organizations in order to track and better understand the daily updates surrounding this pandemic. Their advice and counsel have been invaluable as they have worked tirelessly over the past several months in their efforts to create and maintain a safe environment for athletics.
The Big Ten Conference will continue to work with medical experts and governmental authorities to gather additional information, evaluate emerging data and technologies, and monitor developments regarding the pandemic to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.
Here is the timeline of events, stretching back to mid-March:
- March 11, 2020: The Big Ten brings all winter and spring sports seasons to a halt and suspends all athletic activities indefinitely, including spring football practice.
- May 20, 2020: The NCAA votes to allow football and men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes to return to campuses starting on June 1.
- July 9, 2020: The Big Ten announces elimination of non-conference matchups for all fall sports seasons and limits member teams to conference-only schedules.
- August 5, 2020: The Big Ten releases conference-only fall football schedules and clears member programs to open fall camp on Friday, August 7.
- August 9, 2020: ESPN reports that the “vast majority” Big Ten university presidents are ready to cancel the fall football season, with the option of postponing to the spring.
- August 10, 2020: Dan Patrick reports that a vote of 12-2 was taken among Big Ten presidents, with only Iowa and Nebraska voting against canceling the season. The Detroit Free Press later reports that the Big Ten’s decision to cancel the fall football season is final, pending a formal announcement on Tuesday, August 11.
- August 11, 2020: The Big Ten officially cancels the fall 2020 football season.
Much ink will be spilled in the coming days, weeks, and months regarding the decision to cancel, the timing of the decision, the months leading up to the decision, and what the future of Big Ten football looks like. But for now, I’ll leave you with this: