BREAKING NEWS: Big Ten Conference postpones 2020 football season, fall sports (Report)

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.

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

Rutgers Scarlet Knights unveil 2020 football schedule

As they prepare to potentially navigate around the ongoing health crisis, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football team unveiled their 2020 slate.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights unveiled their 2020 football schedule on Wednesday, headlined by their opener against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at SHI Stadium on September 5.

Each of Rutgers’ 10 scheduled contests will come against conference opponents, as the Big Ten opted to eliminate non-conference games while preparing for a season during the ongoing health crisis. Rutgers was originally set to open with FCS Monmouth in Piscataway and also had matchups with Syracuse and Temple wiped out.

Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, and Illinois will each visit Piscataway this season. These games with be played without outside spectators, per an official order from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that also affects New York Jets and Giants NFL games at MetLife Stadium. Rutgers will travel to Ohio State, Maryland, Purdue, Michigan State, and Wisconsin as well.

The schedule release coincides with the Big Ten releasing its health and medical protocols for a potential 2020 campaign. Rutgers has been dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 on their football team, as a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media revealed that 28 players, plus three members of the coaching staff, have tested positive. Michigan State, Ohio State, and Northwestern have also dealt with positive cases and have since shut down practices. Outside of the conference, the University of Connecticut became the first Football Bowl Subdivision team to outright cancel its 2020 proceedings.

High contact risk sports in the Big Ten will test a minimum of twice daily. The full guidelines are available on the conference’s official website.

“The Conference acknowledges that there is much work to be done on our campuses, in our communities and across the country to gain control of a virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate,” The Big Ten said in a Wednesday statement. “While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.”

“While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”

Rutgers is seeking a reversal in fortune after extending their postseason drought to a fifth season last year with a 2-10 mark that cost head coach Chris Ash his job after four games. The Scarlet Knights welcomed back Greg Schiano to the head coaching spot as the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers boss returns to Piscataway for the first time since 2011. Schiano oversaw the most recent glory days in Rutgers history, guiding them to a program-best 11 wins and their first-ever postseason victory (the Texas Bowl over Kansas State). Rutgers would go on to win five bowl games over the next six season after that historic 2006 campaign before Schiano began his NFL endeavor.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Rutgers Football: Scarlet Knights Lose Linebacker To Credit Fraud Investigation

Training camp has started for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, but all of the news out of New Brunswick isn’t the good kind. It’s hard to have a controversy free offseason, and the Rutgers team isn’t free from controversy after six players were left out of training camp because of an investigation into credit card fraud.

Diving into the details of the Rutgers’ linebacker Investigation:

Two Rutgers players, K.J. Gray and Brandon DeVera, were dismissed last month for a violation of team rules. While the specific violation isn’t known, it may be related to the investigation, which is being conducted by the university police department. Both players have the intention to transfer and continue their football careers elsewhere.

They aren’t the only ones leaving the team. More recently, linebacker Syhiem Simmons announced on Twitter that Rutgers has given him permission to contact other teams, and his plans to transfer elsewhere. An outside linebacker from Atlantic City, New Jersey, Simmons is a redshirt freshman and hasn’t yet received game time with the Scarlet Knights.

“I would like to thank Rutgers University for the opportunity this past year and thank the coaches for helping me progress as an individual on and off the field,” Simmons said in his post. “But at this point in time, I am re-opening my recruitment so that I can keep growing as an individual on and off the field to progress my skills and knowledge with the sport of football.”

Five other players are under investigation right now, but Simmons is the only one to be suspended. The players that will be suspended for training camp because of the investigation are secondary members Malik Dixon, Kobe Marfo, Edwin Lopez, and Naijee Jones, as well as defensive end C.J. Onyechi.

According to NJ Advanced Media, head coach Chris Ash can’t comment on the ongoing investigation and the training camp absence of the investigated players. It wouldn’t be a stretch, however, to predict that all or most of the players may end up leaving the program because of the incident. After all, Simmons is the third player to announce his intention to transfer since the investigation began.