The Big Ten conference is expected to announced that it will play a conference-only football schedule in the fall of 2020, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde.
The news was first reported by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.
All fall sports are expected to be impacted by the decision, according to ESPN’s Heather Dinich and Mark Schlabach.
According to ESPN, if college football can be played this fall, Big Ten administrations preferred to play a conference-only schedule to eliminate some long-distance travel and help ensure teams are being tested for COVID-19 universally. According to Sports Illustrated, the conference-only season will be 10 games.
The decision comes as a recent spike in coronavirus cases in various parts of the United States have created a new set of hurdles to the 2020 college football season.
Earlier Thursday, the ACC announced that each of its fall sports will delay the start of competition until at least Sept. 1.
On Wednesday, the Ivy League announced that it will play no varsity sports for the rest of the calendar year, and it appears it might try and move fall sports to the spring of 2021.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has previously described the latest spikes as “detrimental” to the process.
“Until two weeks ago, everybody felt pretty good about starting on time on Sept. 5 and Aug. 29,” West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, the chair of an important law-making NCAA body, the Football Oversight Committee, told Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger. “The last two weeks have really put a wet blanket on that, and we’re saying, ‘Maybe that’s not going to happen.’”
According to Sports Illustrated‘s Ross Dellenger, SEC football coaches held their weekly conference call Thursday morning with league officials and currently have no change in practice or game plans.
Some of the notable Big Ten football matchups that will be altered with this schedule change are Ohio State at Oregon, Penn State at Virginia Tech, Michigan at Washington and Notre Dame at Wisconsin, which was scheduled to take place at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
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