The Big Ten will cancel its fall season – according to reports – and attempt to play this spring.
The Big Ten is going cancel the fall season and move on to the spring.
After hinting about it over the last several weeks, and after it was leaked on Monday that the Big Ten presidents were 12-2 against playing in the fall, the league has decided to cancel the 2020 fall season and will try playing this spring.
From Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren …
“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,” said Warren. “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.”
So now the focus on the possibility of Big Ten spring football. The conference will take a little while for everything to die down, but the idea of spring football is going to be hard to push in terms of optics. If you’re cancelling the fall season because of player safety, then how do you justify two college football seasons in ten months?
It seems like the Big Ten is throwing out the idea of spring football to try providing some good news of some sort. The conference couldn’t figure out how to play football in the fall with five months to prepare. Do you really think it’s going to navigate the nightmare logistics of doing this in the spring, and then have everyone turn around a few months later and have a second season in the fall of 2021?
Nebraska has already stated that it wants to play college football this year, and Ohio State, Michigan and others are going to want to at least explore the possibilities to play in some way. Forget about the schools joining another conference for a year – not … a … chance – but the Nebraska is breaking away from the pack and might try to figure out non-conference dates.
Semantics matter here. There’s NO way that Nebraska joins the Big 12 for one season. TV and licensing deals, are just the start of the giant mess it would be for the school to dance with someone else for a season. However, it could play “non-conference” games against Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State …
The Big 12 is now in the spotlight. The Pac-12 is almost certainly going to pack it in – it’s a shock it didn’t do that weeks ago – and the ACC and SEC appear to be a go as much as they can be. The Big 12 is seemingly on the fence, even though Texas thinks it can do this and Oklahoma appears to be fine. If those two want to play, it’s going to be a tough sell to get everyone else shut down.
And now the greedy possibilities start to kick in. No, Nebraska and Ohio State can’t join the Big 12, but if the Big 12 could reconfigure its schedule and include a few of the Big Ten programs that want to play as “non-conference” dates, does that tip the scales?
But back to the Big Ten.
It’s disappointing, and in so many ways, it’s so awful to have a fall without Big Ten football. Having lived in and around Big Ten campuses for most of my life, this stinks … but I get it.
Remember, it’s the absolute worst possible look for a major college president to cancel a college football season. In every way possible, this is an impossible call for them – you don’t just lightly shut down a billion dollar industry during the busy season.
Yeah, this stinks. Yeah, this is no fun, but after everything calms down, if the presidents didn’t think it was medically fine – based on the expert advice they received – then good on them for doing what they thought was right.
College football is fine. College football will be back, whether it’s in the fall of 2021, or in the spring.
But we’ll miss you, Big Ten.
Now … FIGURE OUT HOW TO PLAY BIG TEN COLLEGE BASKETBALL this winter.