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Volume 27 No. 13
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Report: Big Ten, Pac-12 Expected To Cancel Football Seasons Tomorrow

The Big Ten and Pac-12 “will cancel their seasons tomorrow,” while the ACC and Big 12 are "on the fence," according to radio host Dan Patrick. A source said that 12 of the 14 presidents from the Big Ten have “voted against” having a fall college football season. Iowa and Nebraska were the “two that have been pushing to play.” The SEC is “trying to get a delay to have teams join them.” The SEC also is “looking at exclusive TV contracts.” The source said of the SEC, “They’re trying to buy time to see if the ACC or Big 12 will go along with them” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/10).

A CRITICAL STAGE: SI.com's Forde & Dellenger reported high-level conference meetings are being planned for this week "across the college football landscape" with the "expected resolution of postponing fall sports" until '21. One conference commissioner yesterday after a conference call with Power Five leaders said, "It’s gotten to a critical stage." Forde & Dellenger write dominoes "started falling in earnest Saturday when the Mid-American Conference postponed fall sports." The Big Ten followed with an announcement that it was pausing its scheduled progression to full-pads football practices. A source said that Group of Five league representatives "simultaneously were conferring to align their own timelines." Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 have calls with league presidents tomorrow night that "might present the first scheduled opportunity for Power 5 leagues to formally vote on postponement." But other calls "could be scheduled earlier" (SI.com, 8/10).

Michigan Stadium could go quiet this fall should the Big Ten cancel the '20 season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Michigan Stadium could go quiet this fall should the Big Ten cancel the '20 season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Michigan Stadium could go quiet this fall should the Big Ten cancel the '20 season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

BIG TEN, OTHERS NOT CONFIDENT: ESPN.com cited sources as saying that Power Five commissioners held an "emergency meeting" yesterday, as there is "growing concern among college athletics officials that the upcoming football season and other fall sports can't be played." No "major decisions were made" last night, but several Power Five sources said that the commissioners "talked about trying to collaborate if their respective presidents do decide to cancel or postpone fall sports." ACC ADs were scheduled to meet this morning, "a day earlier than usual, as a result" (ESPN.com, 8/9). ESPN's Andrea Adelson: “I have a hard time envisioning a conference like the ACC playing if the Big Ten and the PAC-12 decide they don’t want to play this year” (“Packer and Durham,” ACC Network, 8/10).

AAC WANTS A BIGGER VOICE: In Dallas, Sam Blum writes the AAC -- not a part of conversations between the Power Five -- "wants to have a larger say in what happens." AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said, "We’d like to be in that conversation. We’ve had calls with them from time-to-time, and recently we had more than we did earlier, as a joint FBS group, but I’m especially sensitive because our conference is so much like them that I’ve always felt we should be in that room.” Aresco added that he would "like to talk with the leaders of the Power-5 about what his conference is thinking." Aresco: "You can argue both sides, and we obviously haven’t had a chance to be at that table enough." Blum writes Aresco "still sees a path forward" for a college football season (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/10). 

WRITING ON THE WALL? USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes the conversations and considerations that have "led college football to the confusing place it finds itself in" are "endlessly complex." But the question that will determine whether leagues cancel their fall seasons is "relatively straightforward." Wolken: "Would you stake your career on college football being safe under these circumstances?" The "witching hour has brought to campuses and college presidents a more clear-eyed reality about what they don’t know related to COVID-19 and the potential liabilities surrounding a virus whose long-term impact on the body is unclear" (USA TODAY, 8/10). PFT's Mike Florio: "It’s not about what’s right or what’s wrong, what’s safe or what’s not. It’s about there’s a lot of money to be lost if we don’t go forward” (“PFT,” NBCSN, 8/10).

SEEMINGLY INEVITABLE: In Detroit, Chris Solari writes it is the "right call" for the Power Five to cancel the fall football season. Solari: "To protect the heartbeat of college athletics -- and athletes." So many "unknowns remain about the coronavirus and its potentially damaging side effects, as well as how a high-contact sport such as football can be played." So many "problems also persist with the ability to effectively test a high-number of athletes multiple times a week and get results back in a quick enough manner to know if there are infections or not to travel across state lines" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/10). In Chicago, Steve Greenberg writes, "This is not only about health and safety, rest assured of that. Schools’ liability concerns are understandably high" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/10). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel asked, "At some point, don’t we have to stop and ask, what are we doing?" College football’s major universities are "clinging to the rope of hope, trying to keep the sport from drifting down river." Tramel: "And maybe the season can be started while the leaves are on the trees and played while they are falling. But should it be?" Canceling the season "seems inevitable. It seems immoral to play on" (OKLAHOMAN, 8/9). WFAN-AM’s Gregg Giannotti: “It doesn’t seem like there has been much forward thinking with this. It’s just like, ‘We either push it back to the spring and hopefully the virus is gone by then. We’ll snap the fingers and it will just be disappeared, or we’ll just cancel the season.’ You can’t do any better than that?" ("Boomer & Gio," WFAN-AM, 8/10).

WORTH HOLDING OUT? In Detroit, Bob Wojnowski writes it would be the "safe, easy call for the Big Ten, to shut it down" as the MAC did. Wojnowski: "The tough call is to wait a bit longer, to keep testing and learning. I’d make the tough call, for now, and push ahead. I don’t quite understand the rush to finality. More and more players are publicly pleading to play, amid only scattered virus outbreaks inside programs. Schedules were revised and protocols put in place precisely for this scenario, if a delay was necessary." In the next week or so, the Big Ten and Pac-12 "might indeed make the easy call, and the rest of college football could follow." Wojnowski concludes, "I just hope everyone fully grasps what it means" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/10).  YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote under the header, "If Big Ten Pulls Plug On College Football Season, Other Conferences Don't Have To Follow Suit." Wetzel: "Pump the brakes and think this through. If the Big Ten decides to end its season, that doesn’t mean there should be a race to be second. What’s good for that league may not be for all the conferences. What needs to be done in Ohio may not be what needs to be done in Texas." Wetzel: "This shouldn’t be a game of follow the leader. Just because everyone in college sports expects one decision to force the hand of the next decision, it doesn’t have to be that way" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/9).