Tuesday presidents of schools from both the Big 10 and Pac 12 conferences voted to postpone all 2020 fall sports including football. The Big 10 was the first to announce the news early Tuesday morning, while the Pac-12 followed suit Tuesday afternoon and cancelled all sports, including men and women’s basketball, through the end of the calendar year.
The Big 10 and Pac 12 cancelling football comes on the heels of several other leagues and independent schools doing the very same. Last Wednesday UConn, an independent in football, cancelled its season; this past Saturday, the MAC did the same, becoming the first FBS league to nix football.
The MAC’s cancellation sparked emergency meetings between the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12 and SEC) Sunday. The sentiment coming out of those meetings was that the Big 10 was in favor of cancelling the football season, hope to have games in the spring, and was gauging the interest of the other four conferences.
As of now, it appears the ACC and SEC seem to be firmly in favor of playing. The two leagues are working under the guidance of its respective medical groups. In fact, Cameron Wolfe an infectious disease doctor at Duke who serves as chairman of the ACC’s medical advisory group, said football can be played safely.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement Tuesday “I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today. 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. We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day.”
While the Big 10 and Pac 12 are on one side of playing and the ACC and SEC are on the other, the Big 12 is squarely in the middle. There appears to be a schism within the conference affiliates themselves per Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger:
Sources tell @ByPatForde and I that the Big 12 - the linchpin in today's events - is very much "split" on a decision.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 11, 2020
A small group wants to cancel, a small group wants to play, a larger group wants to delay.
ADs meet today and then ADs & presidents meet jointly around 6 ET.
Whether or not there is football in the fall appears to be in the hands of the Big 12. The conference has taken the most wait and see approach of the Power 5; the league hasn’t even announced an official start date to its season though they are planning to play 10 games: nine conference and one non-conference game that must be played at each schools’ home stadium. Interestingly enough, Texas and Oklahoma, the Big 12’s marquee schools, appear to be diametrically opposed with Texas wanting to play in the fall and Oklahoma wanting to postpone until spring.
This is a very fluid situation, we’ll have more as news develops.
UPDATE (7:41 P.M.)