The first powerhouse conference in college football has decided to postpone its season due to Covid-19.
The Big Ten said Tuesday the postponement will affect all sports scheduled for the fall season as the U.S. remains affected by the pandemic and fears there could be a second wave of Covid-19. The Big Ten conference includes schools like Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, and Northwestern University. The Big Ten said in a statement Tuesday that they will play the fall sport in the fall instead.
About an hour after the Big Ten announced, the Pac-12 held a press conference to say its season would be postponed to spring.
"The mental, physical health and well-being of our student athletes has been at the heart of every decision we have made regarding our ability to move forward," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a press release announcing the decision. "Over time, and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Emerging Diseases Task Force and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became clear that there was too much uncertainty about potential medical risks to allow our athletes to participate." fall. "
According to a Pac-10 statement, the decision to postpone was made after consulting with athletics directors and the Pac-12 Covid-19 medical advisory committee, which expressed concern about the advancement of contact practice.
"The health, safety and wellbeing of our student athletes and all those involved in Pac-12 sports have been a top priority since this current crisis began," said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. "Our student athletes, fans, staff and anyone who loves college sports would have loved to see the season play out as originally planned this calendar year and we know how disappointing this is."
The Pac-12 members are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
On Monday, the Detroit Free Press first reported that the Big Ten, which despite its name has 14 member schools, would cancel athletics in the fall. The Free Press said university presidents voted 12-2 to cancel the fall sport, with only the University of Nebraska and the University of Iowa voting to play. The article cited sources and a report by radio host Dan Patrick, who stated that the Pac-12 conference is also expected to cancel its season.
The Big Ten wanted a "10-game only conference schedule," but abandoned the plan after the commissioners of the NCAA's Power 5 conferences met on Sunday to discuss the status of the fall sport.
The upcoming cancellation sparked a reaction from President Donald Trump and others who joined him on Monday, urging the conferences to continue college football despite pandemic concerns.
Speaking on CNBC's "Power Lunch" on May 5, Warren hinted the season may be in jeopardy, especially as universities are still thinking about how to get students back into classrooms.
"Even bigger than fall sports, let's focus together on what we need to get to school in fall," Warren said at the time. "If we don't have school in the fall, we don't have any sport in the fall. So we have a completely different level of issues that we focus on."
Although conferences have already sparked the wave of cancellations, some college athletes used social media to encourage participation in fall sports despite the pandemic.
"Soccer is a safe haven for so many people. We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than when we play soccer," wrote Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence on Twitter.
The Big Ten's decision comes after the Mid-American Conference chooses its own "conservative path" by canceling its fall sport on Friday due to the pandemic.
In a statement, MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher that the decision affects approximately 2,500 student athletes "living for the moment to compete. These opportunities and moments are fleeting, and our student athletes have limited window to show their talent, passion and pursuit Excellence. "
"I'm heartbroken in this place," added Steinbrecher. "I take comfort, however, and want to assure our athletes, coaches and fans that we have their best interests and we will make every effort to create competitive opportunities this spring."
The Mountain West Conference also canceled its fall sports session and joined the Ivy League, which became the first college sports program to cancel fall sports due to the pandemic.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report