Big 12 moving forward with 10-game football schedule

The Big 12 has reached a decision regarding its 2020 football schedule.

The conference announced Monday night after a Board of Directors meeting that it will move forward with a 10-game football season that includes nine conference games and one non-conference game. The non-conference game will be a home game for each Big 12 school.

The Big 12 has not finalized when its league play will begin, but said it anticipates a “mid-to late-September” start date. The Big 12 title game, originally scheduled for Dec. 5, could be moved to Dec. 12 or Dec. 19.

“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

“We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Big 12 is the third power conference to select a 10-game schedule amid the coronavirus pandemic, joining the SEC and Pac-12. Those leagues are playing only conference games while the Big 12 — with just 10 members — needed to include a non-league game to fill out a 10-game schedule for each of its members.

The Pac-12 and SEC plan to begin play on Sept. 26. The ACC, meanwhile, is planning to play an 11-game schedule with 10 conference games plus one non-conference game beginning the week of Sept. 7. The fifth of the autonomy conferences, the Big Ten, will play a conference-only schedule, but has yet to unveil how many games its season will be (10 games is expected) and when it will begin.

 A general view of the Big 12 logo on the field.
The Big 12 announced its scheduling plans for the 2020 football season on Monday. (Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

What sets the Big 12 apart from the other conferences thus far is the fact that two of its members, Kansas and Oklahoma, have non-conference games scheduled for Aug. 29 and have already begun preseason camp, starting practices last Friday.

Oklahoma was originally scheduled to open its season against Missouri State on Sept. 5, but petitioned to move the game up a week. Eventually, a blanket waiver was issued by the NCAA allowing the season to begin on Aug. 29 for all FBS programs to “provide additional flexibility due to the impact of COVID-19.” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said starting the season a week earlier gives the team “extra time between games” to “help our teams manage any variety of possible circumstances that may occur.”

While Kansas’ game against Southern Illinois has already been announced, two other Big 12 teams — TCU and West Virginia — have reportedly reached agreements to open their seasons on Aug. 29 as well. The Athletic reported Saturday that TCU has a “tentative agreement” to play UNLV. WVU’s prospective opponent is unknown at this point.

It is unclear if the games scheduled for Aug. 29 will be permitted to take place.

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