As if sports fans haven’t had a bellyful of bad news in 2020, on Tuesday the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced that their teams won’t play this season barring a miracle cure, or at least markedly improved conditions that could make it safe for players to participate.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, who said the decision was “painstaking,” but not difficult. “While I know our decision will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point.”
He added that the Big Ten Conference teams hope to return to competition “as soon as it is safe to do so,” possibly in the winter or spring.
Pac-12 didn’t hold out that sliver of hope; for its teams, it’s full stop, and the season is a total loss.
In a news release, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said, in essence, better luck next year. “Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble. Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of Covid-19 is significant,” Scott said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”
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The announcements mark only the third time in U.S. history that college football seasons were cancelled: once in 1918, during World War I, and again in 1943, during World War II.
“Today’s decision by the Big 10 Conference may start a domino effect for the other conferences and create interesting dynamics as college football tries to move forward under this SARS-CoV-2 environment,” said Brendan Bussmann of Global Marker Advisors, former director of football operations at the University of Nebraska, a Big Ten team. “Should college football not exist this fall, it could mean roughly a 15 percent hit to sportsbooks across the country.
“It’s a sad day for college football as two of the Power 5 Conferences have decided to punt on the fall season,” Bussmann told USA Today. “I feel for the student-athletes and coaches that have worked hard to get to this point in the season and will now be delayed at a minimum.”
On the bright side, the Big 12 is apparently moving ahead with the 2020-21 college football season, and will soon release its game schedule. The ACC and SEC are still question marks.
So, another gut-punch for sports fans, sportsbooks and of course, the sidelined players. To date, these teams will sit out the 2020-21 fall season:
- Michigan (Big Ten)
- Michigan State (Big Ten)
- Central Michigan (MAC)
- Eastern Michigan (MAC)
- Western Michigan (MAC)
- Colorado (Pac-12)
- Air Force (Mountain West)
- Colorado State (Mountain West)
- Illinois (Big Ten)
- Northwestern (Big Ten)
- Northern Illinois (MAC)
- Indiana (Big Ten)
- Purdue (Big Ten)
- Ball State (MAC)
- Oregon (Pac-12)
- Oregon State (Pac-12)
- Washington (Pac-12)
- Washington State (Pac-12)
- Nevada Reno (Mountain West)
- UNLV (Mountain West)
- Iowa (Big Ten)
- New Jersey Rutgers (Big Ten)
- New Mexico New Mexico (Mountain West)
- Pennsylvania Penn State (Big Ten)