Big Ten Decides Against Fall Season, No Decision on Spring
Several Division I conferences in the NCAA had their schedules put together and preparing for the upcoming season against teams within their conference. After the Mid-American Conference announced August 8th that their Fall sports schedule would be canceled, the first warning of changes began.
Two days later (August 10th), the Mountain West Conference ended their Fall campaigns. The Power 5 conferences of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and the Southeastern Conference (SEC) continued to discuss their next steps. The rumblings had already begun after sources linked to the syndicated Dan Patrick Show told him that the Big Ten was not going to play.
It would only take one more day before the official word came down that the Big Ten voted to cancel the Fall sports season of their 14 conference teams. The ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic were the factors of the postponement of the regular season contests, conference tournaments and championships. In their release, there were multiple factors that weighed the decision, but relied on medical advise from the conference's Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Sports Medicine Committee.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren noted that uncertainty with potential medical risks for student-athletes was at the forefront of their decision. He added -
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. 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.
Warren continued -
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.
The cancellation ends the season for Men's and Women's cross country and soccer, field hockey, football and Women's volleyball. The Conference has not announced if the sports will be moved to the spring but it is one of many options being evaluated.