The Big Ten announced on Thursday that they will not play any non-conference games this fall, if they’re able to play at all.
The move comes after the Ivy League cancelled all fall sports earlier in the week.
In the statement the Big Ten said, “By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.
“In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.”
The Big Ten also said they’re prepared to cancel their fall sports entirely, if needed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes.
This all leads to more questions as to how the Big Ten schedule will ultimately take shape. For instance, the first three games on the University of Illinois’s schedule are all non-conference games. Will more in-conference games be scheduled to replace them, or will the Fighting Illini simply begin their season on Oct. 3 with their first conference game against Rutgers?
All of that remains to be seen, as the conference said more details regarding the conference-only schedule will be released later.
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The Big Ten has officially postponed all fall sports, including football, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The conference announced the decision in a statement on Tuesday, but left the door open for the fall sports to be played next spring.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
“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 Big Ten Commissioner Kevin 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.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
In addition to football, cross country, field hockey, soccer and women’s volleyball seasons were postponed.
“The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring,” the conference said in the statement. “Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.”
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There may be no college football for Big Ten schools this fall.
According to several reports, the Big Ten school presidents voted 12-2 on Sunday to not play football this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dan Patrick, the two schools in favor of playing were Iowa and Nebraska. There are conflicting reports on whether the season will be postponed or canceled, but Dan Patrick says the official news will be released tomorrow.
On his show, Patrick said he followed up with his source, who said, “Three Big Ten teams that I’ve spoken with said, ‘It’s done.’”
In response, more reports have come out saying the SEC has gathered for a previously unscheduled meeting on Monday morning.
According to Patrick’s report, the SEC is trying to delay and see if either the ACC or Big 12 will join them in playing this fall.
The MAC conference decided to cancel it’s football season on Aug. 8.
In addition, on Aug. 5 a coalition of Big Ten players published a Players’ Tribune article asking for a comprehensive plan to keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic if the league was to go forward with the season.
RELATED: Northwestern Wildcats pause football workouts after positive COVID-19 test
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