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Big Ten postpones football, other fall sports; hope to play in spring

Dan McCaleb | The Center Square

(The Center Square) – Big Ten conference presidents Tuesday voted to postpone all fall sports, including lucrative football, and instead consider playing them in the spring.

"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," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

Multiple media outlets reported Monday that the decision to cancel the fall season was made by university presidents Sunday, but the Big Ten denied that.

Pac-12 presidents and chancellors are also expected to vote to move their fall schedules to the spring during a meeting Tuesday.

The Mid-American Conference was the first FBS conference to cancel its season when it did so Saturday.

The Big Ten includes the universities of Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Rutgers, Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue.

The economic ramifications of cancelling the season for Big Ten school communities is expected to be significant.

"We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference," Warren said. "Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today 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. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so."

The other major conferences – the SEC, ACC and Big 12 – have not yet decided.