Big Ten Conference

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says 'no guarantee' of a fall sports season

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren says 'no guarantee' of a fall sports season

The Big Ten released its 2020 football schedule Wednesday, with games beginning as originally scheduled on September 5. Each team will only play those within their conference on a 10-game slate. 

While the schedule release may signal that the Big Ten is pushing forward while other leagues like the Pac-12 face threats of players opting out, commissioner Kevin Warren urged that this decision was to keep as many options open as possible. 

"What went into the decision was to afford us the best possible opportunity to be as flexible as we possibly can," Warren said on Big Ten Network.

Along with the schedule, the Big Ten also released its health and safety guidelines for teams returning to the field. Among the protocols, players and staff will be tested twice per week and fans will not be allowed to attend games. The increased flexibility the Big Ten has will allow them to delay or cancel the season if necessary.

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"There is no guarantee that we'll have fall sports or a football season," Warren said. 

Much like the professional sports leagues already attempting to execute their seasons in the middle of a raging pandemic, the Big Ten's success will likely depend on players and coaches strictly following safety protocols. 

Maryland's schedule begins with a road matchup with Iowa and then the Terps are scheduled to return home for two weeks to play Michigan State and Rutgers. Their schedule gets pretty rough in October where they have to play Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan in three out of four weeks. 

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Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

Big Ten to have a conference-only schedule for all fall sports if played

The Big Ten Conference announced that the league will only play in-conference matchups for the fall 2020 season if games are able to be held. 

The news was first reported by The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach and then confirmed by other outlets.

While this is a gigantic step for the conference as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic, this is most noteworthy to college football. 

Typically, the Big Ten holds nine in-conference contests for each school out of a 13-game schedule. It is unclear if the league will expand its conference schedule to accommodate or continue with nine games. ESPN is reporting that many schools would like a 10-game schedule. 

It is also possible the league will move around current schedules to prepare for potential interruptions, according to ESPN's Adam Rittenburg.

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Removing those nonconference games will limit the student-athletes chance at exposure to the virus. There will be less travel, less hotel stays and fewer individuals that could create a mass-spread of the virus. 

However, with no out-of-conference contests for the upcoming season, the league will not be able to elevate itself as a whole across the college football landscape. It will cancel marquee matchups such as Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin at Lambeau Field, Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at Virginia Tech and Miami at Michigan State.

For the Maryland Terrapins, they lose a big road contest with West Virginia. Additionally, they had home games scheduled against Towson and Northern Illinois.

As one of the biggest leagues in the country (14 teams), the Big Ten does have the flexibility to expand its schedule with each team playing a full season. However, it could drastically affect how the league is perceived in the scope of the College Football Playoff, especially if other leagues do not follow suit. A one or two-loss league champion does not have any national measuring sticks.

The Big Ten has had a team in the Playoff four of the seven seasons it has been in effect. 

This decision comes on the heels of the Ivy League canceling all of their fall sports for the upcoming semester. The Ivy was the first league across the country to make a move so drastic. It should be noted that the Ivy was also the first league to cancel all spring sports at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. 

This move does not guarantee that the Big Ten will still have football games this fall. It merely serves as a simpler attempt to safely have a season. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren isn't even convinced there will be a season. 

The conference also will allow student-athletes to choose not to play for the 2020-21 academic year to maintain their scholarship.

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Redskins' Chase Young the lone unanimous selection to Big Ten Network's All-Decade team

Redskins' Chase Young the lone unanimous selection to Big Ten Network's All-Decade team

After just three seasons at Ohio State, Redskins' draft pick Chase Young walked away from the program as one of the sport's most dominant defensive ends in recent memory.

The pass rusher had a stellar junior season with the Buckeyes in 2019, finishing with a nation-leading 16.5 sacks in just 12 games, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Bednarik Award (given to the country's best defensive player) honors. Additionally, Young was named a Heisman Trophy finalist this past December, becoming just the ninth defensive player since 1982 to be named a finalist for the award.

The Big Ten Network is currently unveiling its 2010s All-Decade team, and it was no surprise to see that Young was one of the players named to the squad on Thursday.

However, what was a tad surprising, and quite impressive, was that the No. 2 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft was the lone player to be unanimously voted to the team.

For an All-Decade team that includes NFL Pro Bowlers Saquon Barkley, Allen Robinson, Joey Bosa, and Taylor Lewan, that's quite the impressive feat for the ex-Ohio State pass rusher.

The awards just keep coming for Young, who was named Ohio State's Male Athlete of the Year in May. Redskins fans hope many more honors are coming in the future for the team's talented new pass rusher.

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