On Tuesday, August 11, 2020, the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences have chosen to postpone 2020 gridiron action. University presidents from the powerhouse leagues said the ongoing pandemic forced their hands.
Such move has disappointed some teams but the 14-team Big Ten and dozen-member Pac-12 both said that they hope to play now-postponed fall sports in the spring, that’s if the nation’s struggle against the coronavirus is in a better place.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren has expressed their side, “The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the centre of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward.”
With their team’s decision, the University of Nebraska leadership said in a statement, “We are very disappointed in the decision by the Big Ten Conference to postpone the fall football season, as we have been and continue to be ready to play.” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said the Buckeyes would have preferred to play.
And late last month, days after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 called a news conference to say its seasons would be postponed until the spring.
Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-12 Conference has told fans they could not quarantine their players, in the same manner, the NBA and NHL are doing as they play now. He said, “We cannot bubble our student-athletes like pro sports can. They’re part of broader campus communities. Student-athletes are living with peer students on campus.”
With this, both teams won’t play football in its usual autumn slot because of concerns on the virus, taking two of US college football’s five power conferences out of a season crumbling amid the pandemic. This means prominent football teams like Ohio State, Michigan, USC, and Oregon will be sidelined from their traditional seasons. And more significantly, the Big Ten and Pac-12 actions pushed college football closer to a total fall shutdown.
However, both conferences will attempt to play football in the spring. “The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. He also added that they are comfortable with their institutions’ ability to provide a well-structured training environment, strict testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation, and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of their student-athletes.
The postponing actions taken by both teams lead top coaches, players, and President Donald Trump to weigh in on the possibility that the top five college athletic conferences will postpone the fall football seasons because of the pandemic.
In addition, leaders from college sports’ “Power Five” conferences have discussed calling off the football season and other fall sports, according to reports from multiple sports news outlets including ESPN.
Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day expressed his opinions in an interview on ESPN2, “I would say we cannot cancel the season right now. We have to at the very least postpone it and allow us a little bit of time to keep reevaluating everything that’s going on.”
No decision has been reached yet, and right now, discussions are expected to continue over the next few days. A Big Ten spokesman has said, “No vote has been held by our presidents and chancellors.”