Back in April, not long after the NCAA basketball tournaments were canceled because of the pandemic, the idea of moving the college football season to the spring of 2021 already was being tossed around. ''We broached it very little in our AD meetings and really haven't gotten serious about it at all,'' Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez recalled Tuesday. The Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed fall football this week, hoping to salvage a spring season like the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West plan to do.
Dwight Hicks left New Jersey as a teenager, seeking to take a step toward his NFL dreams by playing football at the University of Michigan. Hicks was willing to do whatever it took to compete in the 1970s and says the price paid included being sexually assaulted by the late Dr. Robert Anderson during examinations. Hicks, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers, is among dozens of Black former University of Michigan student-athletes who are asking to be treated fairly as the university settles hundreds of lawsuits expected to cost the institution millions of dollars.
USA Today Sports' Paul Myerberg and Dan Wolken explain why postponing the college football season to the spring is not as easy as it sounds.
Baylor coach Dave Aranda could see a weight being lifted off the shoulders of his players during a meeting Tuesday night, when word began to filter out that the Big 12 Conference would attempt to play football this fall. ''You could just see the joy,'' Aranda said. If all goes according to plan, they will take the field for a non-conference game next month, then begin a round-robin league schedule on Sept. 26 with the intention of crowning a Big 12 champion on Dec. 12 near Dallas.
Ohio State's assistant athletic director and former head football coach is not optimistic about the idea of spring football.
Membership has its limitations. The University of Nebraska strenuously objects to the Big Ten's decision not to play football this fall. Nebraska still wants to play. The Big Ten won't allow it. Via Sports Business Daily, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said that Nebraska can't pursue a fall 2020 schedule after the Big Ten decided [more]
The Big South Conference has decided to delay its fall sports seasons with the hopes of playing in the spring. Commissioner Kyle Kallander says the decision was made to protect student-athletes during the coronavirus pandemic. The Division III New Jersey Athletic Conference has decided the delay the start of conference play in basketball until Jan. 20 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Big 12 conference is not joining the Big Ten and Pac-12 in canceling fall football. A day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 both announced they're not playing this year, the Big 12 released a statement insisting that it can play football and play it safely. “Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as [more]
The Big South became the 10th of 13 FCS conferences to shift its potential conference schedule to the spring semester. "We are all broken-hearted that we will not be able to provide competitive opportunities for Big South student-athletes this fall." Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander said.
8 Pac-Twelve prospects the Eagles should target in 2021 NFL Draft after the conference cancels season
Two of the biggest conferences in college sports cancelled their fall seasons on Tuesday. The move is about a fear of player power rather than Covid-19On the night of Sunday 9 August, in the birth of an alliance between WeAreUnited, a faction of players threatening to withdraw their labor without improved working conditions, and WeWantToPlay, a group lobbying to be allowed to play, college football players across the US declared that they want to play this season, but they want to play on the condition that they “ultimately create a college football players association.”As Hunter Reynolds of the University of Michigan and College Athlete Unity (CAU) told us: “We all want to play the sports that we have been practicing our whole lives, we simply want to do it in an environment that is as safe as possible. And I think the union talks are something that has been discussed since Northwesterners tried unionizing years ago.” Within 12 hours, reports swirled that the Big Ten was cancelling its fall season and most of the other Power Five conferences – the largest and richest in college sports – were considering following suit.What happened?Let’s rewind. College sports’ governing body, the NCAA, and the members of the Power Five have had since March to cancel the college football season. Instead, they compelled thousands of players back on to campus for workouts over the spring and summer, exposing them to the threat of Covid-19, a virus that has to date killed more than 160,000 Americans and 730,000 people worldwide. Yet, despite numerous outbreaks of Covid-19 in football programs across the US, by early August, much of the Power Five remained committed to preserving the season. Until, this week, when suddenly they didn’t. While our understanding of the virus has not changed significantly over the past few weeks, one important variable has: football players across the nation have boldly mobilized for increased control over their working conditions.Cancelling the season has less to do with athletes’ safety and more to do with anxieties over the organization of collegiate athletes en masse. As UCLA defensive lineman Otito Ogbonnia, a leading member of WeAreUnited and signatory of a recent letter to PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott told us, “It’s hard to guess what someone else is thinking, but it seems like the conferences basically decided to succumb to all the challenges of the virus and now they are faced with the threat of a union or players association.”It has long been clear that the cancellation of the football season is a crucial and necessary decision. As one SEC player who asked to remain anonymous told us, “Most everyone I know seems to be playing a game of chicken. Everyone is too scared to actually say it isn’t safe or doesn’t make sense to play, and I feel like those that think football continuing on is safer for them are just falling into a false narrative set up by the schools.” He added, “you want us to go into an all SEC schedule? You’ve got to be high. Whether that be of narcotics, power, or greed ... you’re telling us to invest in a season that’s a house of cards that comes with even more risk to us personally.”Despite this, the mostly white NCAA, college athletics directors and coaches have required the majority Black workforce to soldier on for the last several months. As a result we have seen a series of inspiring movements of player leadership and organization. Take, for example, the Big Ten’s College Athlete Unity group, who have more than 1,000 members fighting for changes in the working conditions of athletes within a system that continues to exploit them. Or there is the even more radical PAC-12 WeAreUnited group, who courageously set out a series of demands to protect scholarship and walk-on athletes – effectively laying the foundation for a labor strike in college football. By working together to collectively generate demands, and by consistently arguing for a seat at the table, BigTenUnited and WeAreUnited both gesture towards the promise of a union in college football.This is not the first time unionization has arisen in college football. Between 2013 and 2015 the Northwestern University football team attempted to unionize led by then-quarterback Kain Colter. Yet, the scale this time is profoundly different: thousands of athletes across the country are demanding the basic rights long denied them. That even has Colter himself excited, “College athletes throughout the nation have empowered themselves to demand proper protections and workplace conditions amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said on Tuesday night. “They have stood up to powerful money interests who seem determined to have college football continue without regard to the health of the athletes. These actions have taken a tremendous amount of strength, courage, and solidarity; I greatly admire them for it.”Moreover, CAU, BigTenUnited and WeAreUnited are eliciting support from media, academics, and even contingent faculty unions at large universities such as Duke and UCLA. Rather than go it alone, a challenge that Colter himself has suggested was fatal in Northwestern’s drive, we are seeing college players call for massive reform in the NCAA – beginning with the right to fair representation. As UCLA player Ogbonnia explained to us, “It’s not easy to get everyone on the same page, but we have a responsibility to come together as a labor movement to make things better for each other and the players who will come after us. We are only asking for the most basic rights that every person in this country deserves.”In response to demands from BigTenUnited, WeAreUnited and WeWantToPlay, and as news broke that the PAC-12 and Big Ten conferences are cancelling sports this fall, what was a week ago improbable suddenly seems inevitable. The college football season is likely to be cancelled. But why now?Rumblings suggest that the real motivation behind the impending decision to cancel is a fear of athlete organization. This is confirmed by PAC-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s unwillingness to negotiate with student organizers over their admittedly “eye opening” health concerns. For Power Five schools accustomed to having their pockets lined with unpaid athletic labor, the threat of the virus pales next to the specter of a labor movement.But, the cancellation of the season is also a serious blow to player organization since it eliminates the leverage of a potential labor action (for now). Power Five athletic directors know this and any cancellation of the season at this point – after months of living with Covid-19 and just weeks before the season is set to begin – cannot and should not be confused with a concern for players’ health. Football programs have made it abundantly clear this summer that they view the lives of college football players with callous disregard. Although clearly there are other factors schools are weighing such as liability issues, the sudden urgency suggests a union-busting imperative has tilted the scales towards cancelling.What we are witnessing is a shift in tactics that varies across conferences. The thought for each likely goes something like this: if the season is preserved, athletes will undoubtedly get sick (the SEC confirmed as much in a leaked call with player reps). When that inevitably occurs it gives players more leverage to push back, thus simultaneously gaining momentum as a union and ensuring athletic departments cede on important issues. Is it any surprise that the SEC, the conference with the fewest labor rumblings, is also reportedly the least inclined to cancel despite “sobering” medical advice from doctors? As the Big 12, ACC, and SEC plow forward, it appears their calculation is that the risks of labor uprising are outweighed by the revenue to be reaped. In the PAC-12 and Big Ten, on the other hand, where WeAreUnited and BigTenUnited were born, the analysis seems to have tilted in the other direction. It’s pretty clear what is happening: in the latter two conferences, the very health and safety concerns that catalyzed this movement are now being deployed to dismantle it.Cancellation is not a union-busting tactic unique to college football. Indeed, Walmart has reportedly shuttered stores in California to prevent workers from unionizing. Kumho Tire threatened closure to prevent employees from forming a union in 2017. Vacation company Sandals was accused of the tactic in 2016. There also exists a long history of companies that have also used the threat of closure or termination of operations to bulldoze unionization efforts. The PAC-12 and Big Ten are taking a page out of this union-busting playbook.In response, the WeAreUnited and WeWantToPlay alliance is a strategy to counter by building strength in the court of public opinion. Reynolds told us that “after seeing the public perception of the different movements,” they decided to “come together and let people know that all the messages were the same, they were just being conveyed in different ways.”The challenges of sustaining solidarity in the face of cancellation will be immense. College football is an exceptional labor environment in part because of the inherent attrition in the enterprise. Players do not play long enough to develop the kinds of deep solidarity often necessary for labor organizing. There is pressure to maximize performances while they can in order to catch the eyes of professional scouts. These structural dynamics militate against labor activism and solidarity and the cancellation of the season will only attenuate the rare spirit of collective action that has formed.Counterintuitive as it feels, then, it is now more than ever that CAU, WeAreUnited, and the nascent movement of players across the US need to double down on organizing, deepening the ties that will bind them for the next confrontation. Like Kain Colter before them, the current generation of leaders like Jevon Holland, Andrew Cooper, Treyjohn Butler, Hunter Reynolds, Benjamin St-Juste, Jake Curhan and countless others need to focus on building the solidarity required to challenge their union-busting employers.Now is also the time for the rest of us to have their backs. They’re going to need help, and they deserve it. * Nathan Kalman-Lamb, Derek Silva, and Johanna Mellis are co-hosts of The End of Sport podcast
The two major college conferences postponed their football seasons even after players and coaches pleaded to play amid the ongoing concern over COVID-19.
The Asian Football Confederation has postponed all qualifiers scheduled in October and November for the 2022 World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup. The AFC says the delay is to protect the health and safety of all participants because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 World Cup is set to be played in Qatar and the Asian Cup will be held in China the following year.
USC athletic director Mike Bohn said the Pac-12's cancellation of fall sports was the result of too much uncertainty moving forward during the coronavirus pandemic.
A crumbling college football season took a massive hit Tuesday when the Big Ten and Pac-12, two historic and powerful conferences, succumbed to the pandemic and canceled their fall football seasons. Five months almost to the day after the first spikes in coronavirus cases in the U.S. led to the cancellation of the NCAA basketball tournaments, the still raging pandemic is tearing down another American sports institution: fall Saturdays filled with college football. ''This was an extremely difficult and painful decision that we know will have important impacts on our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our fans,'' Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said.
Two of the Power 5 conferences announced Tuesday the postponement of fall sports. The ACC and SEC released statements indicating they plan to play in 2020. Everyone was waiting to see what the Big 12 would do. SoonerScoop.com reports Big 12 presidents decided Tuesday night to allow the conference to move forward toward a season. [more]
Indiana coach Tom Allen was heartbroken. Kansas State's Chris Klieman doesn't know if he will be, too, eventually, but said he wants to keep his players on campus. The Big Ten and Pac-12 became the first Power Five conferences to cancel their fall football seasons because of concerns about COVID-19.
Two of the five major conferences pull the plug on the upcoming season amid COVID concerns; Doug McKelway reports.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference were still moving forward Tuesday with plans for a fall college football season even as two other Power Five leagues, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, called things off. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said he wanted to learn more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 decisions. Sankey said he remained comfortable with the 14-member conference's approach.
Yahoo Sports College Reporter Pete Thamel explains how the Big Ten and Pac-12 came to the decisions to cancel their 2020 fall football seasons and how those decisions will affect the ACC, SEC and Big 12 moving forward.