Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference postpone 2020 football season

Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference postpone 2020 football season
Stock photo of a football helmet. (Keith Johnston/Pixabay)

Updated 4 p.m. EDT, Aug. 11: The Associated Press is reporting that the Pac-12 Conference has cancelled its fall football season, postpones all sports until Jan. 1 due to COVID-19.

Less than an hour after the Big Ten’s announcement, the Pac-12 called a news conference to discuss a meeting with its universities’ presidents.

Two people involved in the Pac-12′s decision told The Associated Press the season would be postponed until the spring, along with all fall sports. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the conference was still planning an official announcement.

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Updated 3 p.m. EDT, Aug. 11: The Big Ten has voted to postpone the 2020 college football season to the spring of 2021 due to the concern of the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes six days after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

Updated 12:03 p.m. EDT, Aug. 10: The Detroit Free Press reported Monday that the Big Ten has voted to cancel the 2020 college football season. But there has been no official word as to the status of the upcoming season.

Sources told the newspaper that an official announcement will be issued Tuesday after a vote was held Sunday. The sources, who were not authorized to speak about the decision said the vote was 12.2. Nebraska and Iowa were the only two schools that voted to play according to Dan Patrick.

Patrick said the Pac-12 will also cancel its season Tuesday.

Original report: An emergency Sunday meeting of the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences indicates support for postponement of the 2020 college football season and other fall sports could be mounting.

No action was taken during the informal gathering, but growing concerns surrounding the continued safety of student athletes and staff amid the novel coronavirus pandemic prompted the meeting ahead of conference-specific discussions on the matter expected this week.

According to an ESPN report, presidents of Big Ten schools are “ready to pull the plug” on the conference’s fall sports season after their own Saturday night meeting but wanted to gauge the leanings of commissioners, university presidents and chancellors from the other Power 5 conferences, including the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12, Pac-12 and the Southeastern Conference.

A Big Ten official confirmed to ESPN that no official vote took place during Saturday’s meeting, but the presidents are set to meet again Sunday night. The “vast majority” of Big Ten presidents have expressed support for postponing the football season, hopefully until spring, the sports news network reported.

“It’s gotten to a critical stage,” one conference commissioner told Sports Illustrated on Sunday. “I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.”

The Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first Football Bowl Subdivision league to postpone the fall sports season, including football.

The ACC athletic directors will meet Monday morning, a day earlier than usual, as a result of the Power 5 group discussions held this weekend, a source told ESPN.

Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 already have calls with league presidents and chancellors scheduled for Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported.

“No one has talked about a plan if the season is canceled,” West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is the chair of the Football Oversight Committee, told ESPN. “If it’s canceled, we need to be able to give clear direction at that time, as opposed to saying, ‘We don’t know.’”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.