Pac12 & BigTen Postpone All Fall Sports
All summer, fans and student-athletes alike have been waiting on collegiate conferences to announce a plan for the season. Today, two powerhouse conferences, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten announced that they will not be holding a fall season amidst the pandemic. Instead, they hope to be able to push these sports seasons to the spring rather then the fall when conditions improve.
The postponement of sports like football and basketball, which rake in the vast majority of income will surely hurt athletic programs all across the country that have already been put in difficult financial situations since the pandemic began. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren told the Big Ten Network,
The over-arching reason and the over-arching issue we had to always keep at the top of our mind was the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes was at the top of my list. Cases are spiking. Deaths, not only in our country but our states where our schools are located. All the decisions we make during my tenure here in the Big Ten will always put our student-athletes in the center…
After a long meeting, the Big 10 announced on Tuesday, their plans to postpone fall sports citing the long term implications of corona virus among other reasons. This was announced about an hour into the Pac-12 CEO meeting who were also discussing how to move forward. Ultimately, in a unanimous vote, they too decided to postpone any fall sports season. In a similar statement to Warren’s, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, “The health, safety, and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis. Our student-athletes, fans, staff, and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”
The decision will hopefully prevent the spike in cases among college athletes. Despite the risks, some coaches and athletes have been pushing hard for a return to a normal season. President Trump himself had encouraged this, even with the mounting crisis the virus has proven to be for the nation. Many schools had already decided to resume training at the start of the summer but with increased safety protocols. However, these measures were not enough to protect college athletes from contracting corona-virus. Football teams were hit especially hard. In June, 150 NCAA Division I athletes were publicly revealed to have tested positive. Clemson had the highest reported number with 28 positive athletes. Alabama and Boise State had at least eight football players test positive. Florida, one of the hardest hit states in the US, saw an outbreak among athletes at Florida State, Florida A&M, and University of Florida. NCAA athletes were even pressured into “voluntary” workouts. The NCAA sanctioned voluntary workouts beginning on June 1, but what appeared to be voluntary on paper was really a way for programs to pressure athletes into risking their health for a season. This postponement will hopefully protect student-athletes from putting their lives at risk for a 2020 season.
As of publication, the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 have not reached a decision yet. The SEC football season had a ten game, conference-only schedule with a tentative start date of September 26. The ACC was to begin on September 6 with ten conference games, and one non-conference game. Currently it looks like the Big 12 plans to push forward with their football season which is to start on September 26 with nine conference games and one non-conference game. The Big 12 is to release their football schedule on Wednesday.