Big Ten Postpones Football Season; Hopes To Play In Spring
The Big Ten this afternoon announced that it was postponing its fall sports, including football, with the hope to eventually compete on the field in the spring. The league in a statement this afternoon said it made the decision based on advice from its medical professionals. The conference also said decisions on winter and spring sports would continue to be evaluated (Big Ten).
DECISION COMING FOR BIG 12? SI.com's Forde & Dellenger noted today's "most important decision may come from the Big 12." Geographically situated in middle America, the Big 12 "appears to be straddling the proverbial fence." Its neighbors to the West and North, the Pac-12 and Big Ten, are "drifting one way" while its neighbors to the East and South, the ACC and SEC, are "advancing forward toward a season." A source "called the Big 12 the 'linchpin,' and multiple administrators describe the conference as 'split' on a decision." Sources said that Big 12 ADs and presidents are "expected to meet on a joint call" tonight where a "vote is expected on whether to cancel, proceed or delay the fall season" (SI.com, 8/11).
PLAYERS, COACHES SPEAKING OUT: Many Big Ten players and coaches yesterday spoke out against the conference's reported decision to not play football this fall, and ESPN's Heather Dinich said, "It matters. It’s certainly powerful and impactful and is taken into consideration because those coaches report to the athletic directors. The athletic directors in the Big Ten are telling the presidents, ‘This is what we think’” ("Get Up," ESPN, 8/11). Penn State coach James Franklin said, "Why would we cancel the season right now when we don’t have the answers for what that might mean? I’m on a call last night with the parents and our players, and they’re asking me a bunch of questions: what does the mean for my scholarship? What does this mean for my eligibility? Do I get another year? … There’s just so many questions that I don’t think, from a leadership standpoint, that you cancel the season and then people ask you, ‘What does this mean for my future,’ and we don’t have any of those answers right now" ("Get Up," ESPN, 8/11).
RUDDERLESS: In Boston, Tara Sullivan writes, "Today, everyone loses." Sullivan: "The conversation around college football has no winners. Not the players who want to play. Not the fans who want to watch. Not the universities that want to cash in, nor the coaches who want to coach." But "all indications" are "pointing to the inevitable unraveling of the 2020 season." And if the past few days "haven't delivered a final verdict, they most certainly have presented a steel-clad case of dysfunction in the NCAA, exposing once again the foundational lack of leadership that defines an organization supposedly built to protect the welfare of student-athletes." Never has the sport "needed a cohesive approach more than now, needed someone or something to facilitate communication and decision-making that all schools can follow." Instead, there are "opinions coming from everywhere, and the effect is dizzying and frustrating" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/11).
NO DIRECTION: In Tampa, Matt Baker writes in the early stages of the "most critical week in modern college sports history, the president of the United States has said more publicly about the tenuous fate of the fall football season than the president of the NCAA." That "says everything about the chaos, internal tension and complete, utter confusion that has enveloped college football over the past 48 hours." Baker: "No one is in charge." The "chaos and in-fighting that make the sport so amusing are out of place when lives and livelihoods hinge on the upcoming decisions." College football "doesn't need divisions." It "needs unity, or at least some semblance of leadership" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/11). In Minneapolis, Chip Scoggins writes the path forward has "turned college football into chaos with no centralized leadership among Power Five conferences to guide the way." The current arrangement is "five guys, five cabs" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 8/11). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said, “(NCAA President) Mark Emmert makes almost $4 million a year and can’t even get a seat at this table because you’ve got people grabbing at money all over the place" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN, 8/10).
TOP-DOWN FAILURE: USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes if any other multi-billion dollar business in America were "run as poorly college sports, it would be ripe for a hostile takeover." Whatever the fate of the '20 college football season, the "process in getting here has been an utter embarrassment to everyone except the players, who clearly want to play and deserve answers for why the momentum among many college presidents is moving the other direction." Players are "innocent in all this, and yet their absence from the conversation about what conditions would make college football even possible while COVID-19 rages has been notable and counterproductive." College officials have offered "no unified message from conference to conference or even school to school, no backup plan if the season can’t be played in the fall and offered zero specifics on what constitutes acceptable and responsible conditions to play a season" (USA TODAY, 8/11).