Two of the major NCAA sports conferences, the Big Ten and the PAC-12, have voted to cancel their fall sports seasons over coronavirus concerns, ESPN reports.
What We Know:
- The conference’s cancelation includes college football, which both the Big Ten and PAC-12 are considered to be apart of the NCAA’s “Power 5” conferences. Reports say presidents of Big Ten universities voted 12-2 Monday to cancel this year’s football season, with only Nebraska and Iowa voting to play. All 14 teams released an updated schedule last week and began their fall camps which will not be put on hold.
- “All the decisions we would make during my tenure here will always put the mental and physical health and wellness of our student-athletes at the center,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “We just believed collectively there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports.”
- The official announcement by the Big Ten to cancel all fall sports was pushed to Tuesday in hopes that the other Power 5 conferences (the ACC, SEC, BIG 12, and PAC-12) would align with their decision. Of the other Power 5 conferences, only the PAC-12 has decided to follow the Big Ten’s lead. “The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott noted.
- Both the ACC and SEC have suggested that they plan to play their fall sports seasons this year, though the Big Ten and PAC-12’s decisions could have implications on those plans.
- Clemson starting quarterback and future top NFL draft pick Trevor Lawrence has been a consistent advocate for their right to play. The Tigers currently play in the ACC.
— Trevor Lawrence (@Trevorlawrencee) August 10, 2020
- Coaches and administrators from both leagues have expressed strong feels regarding the decision, specifically citing their player’s hard work. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith described it as “an incredibly sad day for our student athletes” while Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh said that NCAA athletes “have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity” and that he shares in their disappointment.
- The Mid-American Conference postponed its fall football games Saturday and the University of Connecticut, which would have played as an independent this year, announced last week that it too would be cancelling its 2020 football season.
The Big Ten and PAC-12’s decision come as coronavirus fears continue to mount in the U.S. as case numbers rise and the economy struggles to get back on its own two feet.