Big Ten Athletic Conference Reportedly Cancels 2020-2021 Football Season Because Of Coronavirus

big-ten football action on the field
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The Big Ten athletic conference has reportedly canceled its 2020-2021 college football season due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Detroit Free Press reported.

According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, in a Sunday vote, the presidents of 12 of the 14 universities who have football programs in the conference all voted to end their upcoming season before it even begins. Among those 12 votes were the presidents of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, both of whom are physicians.

Only the presidents of the Universities of Nebraska and Iowa voted to play.

The conference hasn’t yet formally announced the decision. Sources told The Detroit Free Press that they expect the announcement will be made on Tuesday.

According to one source, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is reportedly on board with holding the Big Ten’s season in the spring, although no decision has been made.

Individual schools — some of which have been holding preseason practice — have been moving their schedules around, seemingly in anticipation of an announcement that the season has been canceled. In East Lansing, Michigan State took Monday off from practice. Normally, the team takes Tuesdays off. In Iowa City, the University of Iowa canceled Monday’s scheduled practice. In West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University rescheduled its media availability.

purdue and indiana football players on the field
  Michael Hickey / Getty Images

Meanwhile, the players themselves, at least at Michigan State and the University of Michigan, reportedly have not been told about the status of their upcoming season.

The move comes as other college football conferences, large and small, have canceled or limited their upcoming seasons. For example, as Sporting News reported, the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Ivy League, and the Patriot League, among others, have already made such decisions.

Other major conferences in the so-called Power Five, which includes the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conference (SEC) — and encompasses most of the major names in college football — are considering canceling their own seasons, CBS Sports reported.

“It’s an ongoing conversation we’ve been having for weeks,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

With major and minor conferences dropping out, the future of college football looks to be in jeopardy.

“I’m of the opinion it’s when, not if [the 2020 season is canceled],” said an unidentified source within one of the conferences.

The players themselves have been opting out of the upcoming season as well. Already at least 30 players from among the schools in the Power Five — many of whom will likely be first-round draft picks when the NFL comes calling — have decided not to play this season, citing concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.