The Big Ten Conference has officially shut down activities in the fall, including football. It will attempt to run a spring season.
Due to the ongoing health crisis, the Big Ten Conference has officially postponed its fall sports slate, which includes the upcoming football season. Conference officials confirmed the delay in a statement released on Tuesday and the plan is to push things back to the spring semesters.
“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,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “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.”
Other sports affected by the postponement include soccer, cross country, field hockey, and women’s volleyball.
The Big Ten was the first of the “Power 5” conferences to officially call off autumn activities, though the Pac-12 followed them shortly after.
This delay pushes back the return of Greg Schiano to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football program. Schiano, who led Rutgers to a program-best 11 wins during the 2006 season, was brought back after Chris Ash was fired last fall. Conference officials unveiled a plan to play only conference games earlier this summer, with Rutgers poised to open on September 5 against Nebraska. Players have also expressed a desire to play, accompanying the social trend “#WeWantToPlay” with desires to create a stable, healthy environment, as well as a players’ association.
Several players from the fallen conference have expressed their displeasure with the news, including Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy contender Justin Fields.
— Justin Fields (@justnfields) August 11, 2020
The ACC, Big 12, and SEC are currently still on pace to open their seasons. Independent programs Connecticut and Massachusetts have likewise canceled their own campaigns.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags