The Big Ten has become the first Power-5 conference to postpone all fall sports, with the possibility of competition in the spring semester.
Reports yesterday suggested the Big Ten was leaning towards postponing their fall sports – including football – amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. One report from radio host Dan Patrick even said Big Ten presidents had already voted 12-2 in favor of canceling the fall season. Though a Big Ten spokesman quickly denied that a vote had taken place, the conference did ultimately decide to scrap the fall season a day later.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said the Big Ten Council’s Chair, Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. The Big Ten press release says the conference’s decision was “based on multiple factors” and relied on medical advice from the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
The decision will end fall seasons for football along with men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.
“The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of playing options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring,” the press release reads. “Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.”
Men’s & women’s swimming & diving are winter sports in the Big Ten. There’s no word yet on what the fall sport decision will mean for swimming programs, which typically start training and competing by September.
The Big Ten becomes the first of the Power-5 conferences to cancel or postpone its fall season. Reports yesterday indicated that the Pac-12 was also considering canceling or postponing its season, while the Big 12, ACC, and SEC appear to be moving forward with their seasons as scheduled.
Several other Division I schools and conferences have already made changes to football or to all fall sports. The FBS is the highest level of college football, made up of the Power-5 conferences, Group of Five conferences, and several independents. The Big Ten (Power-5), Mountain West (Group of Five), and Mid-American (Group of Five) conferences have already scrapped fall competition, along with two of seven independents (UConn and UMass).
That leaves the ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC in the Power-5, along with the AAC, C-USA and Sun Belt in the Group of Five. Notre Dame, BYU, New Mexico State, Liberty and Army West Point are the remaining independents still proceeding with football in the fall for the time being.
Here’s a list of the programs we’ve reported on so far:
- Big Ten Conference – B1G – postponed all fall sports
- Mountain West Conference – MWC – postponed all fall sports (Air Force exempt)
- Mid-American Conference – MAC – canceled fall sports
- Patriot League – canceled fall sports (Army & Navy exempt)
- Ivy League – canceled fall sports, no sports at all until at least January 1
- UConn (FBS independent) – canceled fall football
- UNC-W (CAA) – canceled fall sports
- UMass (FBS independent) – canceled fall football