The Big Ten presidents voted on Tuesday to cancel the fall football season, sources told Yahoo Sports. The league is going to attempt to play the season in the spring, sources said.
The Big Ten’s decision marks an important one in the college football landscape, as it marks the first major conference to decide to cancel fall football. The Big Ten joins the MAC and Mountain West Conference in canceling the fall football season.
The Big Ten decision came while Pac-12 presidents were on a call to discuss the fate of their season. With the virus inhibiting numerous Pac-12 schools’ ability to practice, it’s expected that the Pac-12 will follow the Big Ten’s lead.
This leaves all eyes on the Big 12, which has a call later Tuesday. The question around college football will be if the Big 12 aligns with the ACC and SEC to attempt to play or follows the lead of the Big Ten.
The Big Ten hinted toward this decision Monday night. On a call with coaches, league administrators engaged with the coaches for the first time on their preferences of how a fall without football would look.
The decision comes after a day fraught with mixed messages and uncertainty, as coaches publicly lobbied to play a season this fall. Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska’s Scott Frost both spoke publicly about the desire to play in the fall. Those thoughts were echoed by Ohio State’s Ryan Day and Penn State’s James Franklin. Both Frost and Day mentioned seeking other alternatives.
“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,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement released later Tuesday. “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.”
The decision to attempt to play in the spring means that many of the league’s top players are expected to defect to the NFL draft. Already, Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman, Purdue’s Rondale Moore and Penn State’s Micah Parsons have opted out of the season to prepare for the draft. Teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, who have numerous pro prospects, are bracing for what could happen to their rosters.
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