Big Ten, Pac-12 Postpone Football Season, Hope To Play In Spring

Tuesday, August 11th 2020, 2:05 pm
By: CBS Sports

Update: The Pac-12 joins the Big Ten conference in postponing all fall sports until at least January 1 due to COVID-19.

Following a morning meeting of the conference's presidents, the Big Ten on Tuesday decided to cancel the college football season for fall 2020 with hopes of playing in spring 2021.

With this decision, the Big Ten has become the first Power Five conference to decide not to play this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sentiment throughout college football entering Sunday night was that the Big Ten and Pac-12 would cancel their seasons this week. However, the combination of outspoken coaches and the #WeWantToPlay X #WeAreUnited movement that developed suddenly late Sunday seemed to give pause to the five major conferences.

Big Ten coaches -- including Ohio State's Ryan Day, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, Penn State's James Franklin and Nebraska's Scott Frost -- publicly advocated for playing the 2020 season on Monday. However, their pleas and those of Big Ten players were not enough to change the collective minds of Big Ten leaders.

Related Story: College Football Stars Unite For #WeWantToPlay Campaign As Major Schools Weigh Cancelling Season

In a statement released Tuesday, the Big Ten announced that "multiple factors" including the "medical advice and counsel" from its experts led to what it is deeming the "postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season."

The Big Ten's cancellation affects all fall sports, including cross country, field hockey, soccer and volleyball.

While the Big Ten's coaches were outspoken about wanting to play, the Pac-12's coaches were largely silent. Perhaps that is because the league's coaches and athletic directors were reportedly given "eye-opening" information Monday evening from Pac-12 doctors, specifically regarding myocarditis, a heart condition that can develop as a result of battling the coronavirus. The condition involves an inflammation of the heart muscle. It can reduce the heart's ability to pump, causing rapid or abnormal heartbeat.

Though COVID-19 had previously been linked to longer-lasting heart complications, the medical advice given to Pac-12 decision-makers was apparently enough to lead them to pull the plug on playing this fall.

This cancellation affects all fall sports in the Pac-12 conference.