The Big 12 college football conference has voted to go ahead with its 2020-2021 season, WBRZ-TV reported. In doing so, they appear to be bucking the trend of other college football conferences that have chosen to cancel or postpone their seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby cited the wishes of the student-athletes in the conference’s member schools — which includes the Universities of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas, among others — who want to proceed with the planned season.
“Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome,” he said.
The Big 12’s decision stands in sharp contrast to the decision made this week by another major college football conference: the Big Ten. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, the conference, which includes Midwestern powerhouse football programs such as Michigan and Michigan State, voted this week to postpone its season until the spring — assuming it’s safe then.
Both the Big Ten and Big 12 are part of a group of conferences, known as the “Power Five,” that collectively contain the names of the majority of top-tier Division I college football programs. Earlier this week, it seemed as if the remaining schools in that group — the SEC, the ACC, and the Pac 12 — might cancel their seasons as well, effectively killing the prospects for college football this fall.
The Pac 12 did, in fact, vote with the Big 10 to postpone its season until the spring. However, the SEC and the ACC are reportedly considering moving forward with their seasons. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said that he’ll be watching his peers’ decision-making processes when it comes to planning how to hold the season in a way that protects the athletes. He expressed confidence that it can be done.
“I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes,” Sankey said.
Meanwhile, below the top tier of Division I, there is no college football this year. The FCS, which can be considered the second tier of Division I, has canceled its season, as have Division II and Division III.
President Donald Trump has openly mourned the fact that college football teams and conferences are postponing or canceling their upcoming seasons, telling a Fox Sports host that they are making a “big mistake.”