[Editor’s Note: The news is in chronological order but the biggest news as of 2:46 PM ET, Tuesday, August 11 is that the Big Ten has officially postponed their season.]
Breaking reports on Monday morning stated what fans, athletes, parents, coaches and staff members have feared since March: The Pac-12 and Big Ten are expected to cancel their fall 2020 football seasons on Tuesday morning. The announcements are expected to come no later then Tuesday as the Pac-12 and Big Ten are set to be the first two major football conferences to cancel their season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a source quoted on the Dan Patrick Show, “the Pac-12 and the Big Ten will cancel their football seasons tomorrow. The ACC and Big 12 are on the fence. The SEC is trying to get a delay and get teams to join them. The SEC is looking at exclusive TV contracts.”
“That’s what I’m told this morning. Three Big Ten teams that I’ve spoken with have said ‘it’s done.’”
The source on the DP Show also stated that the SEC is delaying their decisions to see if the Big 12 or the ACC will go along with them this fall or if they’ll have to go at it alone.
DP was told an hour ago that the Big 10 and Pac 12 will cancel their football seasons tomorrow... The ACC and the Big 12 are on the fence.. And the SEC is trying to get teams to join them for a season.— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) August 10, 2020
Watch live: https://t.co/sMaeXQkLfl pic.twitter.com/oSUNGMTEqw
Also according to sources, 12 of 14 Big Ten teams voted to cancel the season as Nebraska and Iowa were the lone holdouts to say they still were in favor of a season.
Things have officially gotten political as well as Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) apparently drafted a letter that states why college football should be played.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has drafted a letter that he plans to send to Big Ten presidents, identifying reasons why he believes college football should be played.@SINow obtained a copy.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 10, 2020
Sasse is a former university president. pic.twitter.com/xrpRjiWREf
The news of the conferences cancelling their seasons comes just hours after Stadium’s Brett McMurphy tweeted another sources statement that “college football season is done. I don’t think everyone follows the MAC, but it gives other league presidents one more reason to make an easier decision. Biggest thing is unknown long-term impact of COVID and liability issues involved.”
The MAC, of course, cancelled their football season last week, becoming the first major college football conference to do so. The University of Connecticut was the first school to opt out and cancel their season, doing so days before the MAC cancelled their season.
The Pac-12’s decision to cancel the season, if true on Tuesday, comes after failed negotiations with the Players Unity Movement that had players reacting with disappointment, and amid the current coronavirus pandemic. While everyone hoped for a season, at this point it seems like the lack of leadership at the NCAA level is really what did the teams and programs in.
The Pac-12 has declined comment on the reports from the Dan Patrick Show and the conference presidents are still scheduled to meet on Tuesday.
This is a developing story with more to come as it unfolds.
[UPDATE - 12:00 PM ET] Jim Harbaugh, current head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, put forth a statement through the University. Harbaugh laid out his reasons why he wants to play football this fall, going against a reported ‘vote’ from university president Mark Schlissel. In the note, Harbaugh writes that as of August 10, the ‘virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts:
- The Michigan football program has had 11 positive tests out of 892 administered, including three upon initial return to campus
- We have had two positive tests out of the last 417 administered
- We have had zero positive tests out of the last 353 administered
- There have been zero positive tests among the coaches or staff over the entire eight weeks of testing
Among other reasons, Harbaugh continued with a ‘this isn’t easy, this is hard’ sentiment, which sums up the lose-lose situation that administrators and staff are surely in at this point.
Full statement from Harbaugh:
Letter from Jim Harbaugh on wanting to play the season and why he thinks it can happen. pic.twitter.com/wUlf8q4vYr— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) August 10, 2020
[UPDATE - 1:10 PM ET] The Big Ten has reportedly not held a vote at all on whether or not to take part in a season this fall. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel tweeting:
Just got a text from a Big Ten spokesman. "No vote has been held by our presidents and chancellors." Hence, the Big Ten watch continues.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 10, 2020
[UPDATE - 1:20 PM ET] President Donald J. Trump weighs in.
[UPDATE - 1:40 PM ET] Players from the SEC and ACC have have grouped together with Jason Setchen, otherwise known as ‘Athlete Defender’ with a letter sent to the NCAA Board of Governors, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the commissioners from the SEC (Greg Sankey) and ACC (John Swofford).
Whether to cancel the @NCAA football season has not involved much input from student-athletes or their families. I represent a group of @theACC and @SEC athletes that WANT TO PLAY FOOTBALL THIS SEASON. The attached letter outlines their concerns. #WeWantToPlay #play2020 pic.twitter.com/ylgvgI1v2k— Jason Setchen (@AthleteDefender) August 10, 2020
[UPDATE - 2:30 PM ET] SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey details the SEC’s reasoning behind their commitment to play safely this year.
...Deveoped testing protocols...We know concerns remain. We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so...every day.— Greg Sankey (@GregSankey) August 10, 2020
[UPDATE - 3:15 PM ET] ESPN reports that the Pac-12 CEO Group is scheduled to meet on Tuesday morning and is expected to discuss and vote on how to proceed with the 2020 college football season. The CEO Group is made up of one president or chancellor from each of the member universities.
No official decision on the conference’s decision to cancel or not will come before the Tuesday meeting, according to ESPN. The expectations for the meeting are that the CEO Group will be briefed on the concern of a COVID-19 condition: myocarditis. It’s an inflammation of the heart muscle often associated with viral infections and been linked closely to COVID019. It is quoted to “come on suddenly and often with significant severity, resulting in an exceptionally high risk of death caused by cardiogenic shock (the heart’s inability to pump enough blood), fatal arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) and multiorgan failure,” according to the American Heart Association.
A Pac-12 source said that the decision will ultimately also factor in the decisions of the Big Ten and other Power-5 conferences. “It’s Naïve to say these decisions don’t take in to account what’s going on elsewhere in the country to some degree.”
[UPDATE - 5:30 PM ET] The Mountain West Conference has cancelled its football season due to player health and safety concerns. They will consider playing in the spring, sources told Stadium. This came just Old Dominion University cancelled their football season, becoming the first university within a conference still trending towards playing this fall to do so.
The Conference USA is shaping up to play this fall according to sources, unless things change, but ODU will not be apart of their schedules.
The Mountain West stated that “the health and safety of our student-athletes was paramount in our decision.”
More from Stadium, here.
[UPDATE - 10:13 AM ET] The University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) has cancelled their fall football season. The independent school may make an attempt to play in the spring if opponents arise, according to athletics director Ryan Bamford.
“The continuing challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic posed too great of a risk, and we reached the conclusion that attempting to play a season would not have placed the members of our program in the safest situation possible,” Bamford said in a statement.
“... These times have presented us with extensive uncertainty, and we are disappointed for all the members of our fall sports programs who will not have the opportunity to compete this autumn. We remain hopeful and fully intend to conduct a competitive schedule for our fall sports in the 2021 spring semester.”
[UPDATE - 12:00 PM ET] The Pac-12’s sense of urgency has been brought up. According to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, the Pac-12 coaches and athletic directors got ‘sobering medical perspective’ from a group of conference doctors. They said it was ‘eye opening’ and was ‘made real’ with new information pertaining to myocarditis.
Update on the Pac-12: Pac-12 coaches and ADs got a sobering medical perspective from a group of Pac-12 doctors last night. Source called it “eye opening” and the information on myocarditis “made it real.” 1/2— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 11, 2020
[UPDATE - 2:46 PM ET] The Big Ten has officially postponed their 2020 fall football season. The goal is to play in the spring.