Big Ten Conference Reportedly Still Looking At Canceling Football This Fall

Ohio State football players holding up a 'Big 10' sign in celebration.
Justin Casterline / Getty Images

While several college football conferences released plans this week that would see them play this year in some form, the Big Ten is reportedly still mulling canceling the season altogether. Pat Forde of SI.com reported Thursday on Twitter that his sources told him the conference has advised its member schools there may not be a 2020 season.

Forde added those member schools could be getting more guidance next week, when the Big Ten is said to be telling teams whether or not their training camps will begin on time.

Even when a decision is made on the camps, the insider said that doesn’t mean an on-time start there guarantees a fall season is on the horizon. Testing protocols and other safety measures are believed to be ready to go, but that too doesn’t mean there will be Big Ten football until at least next spring.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk said that it appears the SEC and ACC have taken the opposite approach to the Big Ten. He said they are going for more of a “damn the torpedoes” view on everything.

“College football in the current pandemic raises plenty of questions regarding, for example, whether it’s appropriate to add the risk of catching and/or transmitting the virus to family members to unpaid players and whether it’s proper to utilize testing resources that could be used by the local citizenry,” he wrote.

He added the thing that is hovering over the whole situation is that college sports are different than what the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB can do, because those leagues are comprised of professional athletes.

Their entire jobs are to play their sports and then go home. In the NCAA, athletics are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also concern about having to go to class. The infection vector is potentially quite a bit bigger when talking about a whole campus.

For now, Florio pointed out, schools are looking at having in-person classes. That means that any Big Ten athlete that took part in a game on Saturday could be bringing the virus back to campus and then to the classroom on Monday.

The analyst believes that’s playing a part in every major conference scaling back their schedules. On the other hand, Florio pointed out there seems to be a viewpoint that sports are going to be played in the fall — it’s just a matter of how it can be pulled off. If that’s the case, and the Big Ten conference ends up deferring or canceling their games, it could make them an outlier in the NCAA.