The Big Ten will reportedly be the first of the Power Five dominoes to fall this season.
According to Dan Patrick, the Big Ten had an internal meeting on Sunday resulting in a 12-2 vote to not play a college football season this fall. Nebraska and Iowa were the two programs to vote in favor of a season, and Patrick reported that both the Big Ten and Pac-12 will cancel their seasons on Tuesday.
The conference’s decision came following a week of mixed messages, including a released schedule on Wednesday and numerous false alarms of the season being canceled or postponed. Leaders in the conference met twice in a 24-hour period to discuss the unprecedented matter.
On Saturday, the Big Ten first met but ultimately did not reach a final decision about the season. Their meeting came just hours after the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS league to cancel its 2020 season. While MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said the decision was unrelated to financial reasons, the MAC was set to lose millions of dollars in game revenue after Power Five schools shifted to a conference-only plan.
Instead, the Big Ten decided on Saturday that it would delay the ramp-up process to full pads practices during training camp, which officially began on Friday.
While the Big Ten is expected to release its final decision of no fall season on Tuesday, it is unknown whether the conference will cancel the season altogether or play during the spring semester instead. Multiple reports indicated that commissioner Kevin Warren and leaders around the conference preferred the idea of playing the season in the spring.
However, the conference was taking conscious steps toward playing a modified season in the fall. It released its updated conference-only, 10-game schedule on Wednesday while a number of individual schools like Penn State and Ohio State announced their intent to play a season without fans. On the other hand, Iowa, one of the two schools to dissent from the majority vote, announced on Thursday it would host 10-15,000 fans for home games this season.
Ultimately, the conference decided playing in the fall was not worth the risk of spreading the coronavirus, even after a number of players around college football said they wanted to play. Michigan State, Rutgers and Illinois all saw outbreaks arise within their programs in the last month as their players returned to campus for workouts.
Following the official announcement from the Big Ten and Pac-12, all eyes will be on the three other Power Five conferences who have yet to make a decision. According to Patrick, the ACC and Big-12 are on the fence about playing a season and the SEC is trying to delay its decision in order to bring other schools into its conference this season and sign exclusive TV contracts.
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