Big Ten officials to vote on whether to reverse course and hold an abbreviated fall college sports season
Big Ten Conference presidents and chancellors are expected to vote on whether to reverse course and proceed with an abbreviated fall college football season, an official familiar with the discussions tells CNN.
After a weekend of smaller-group meetings, the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors is moving toward a decision that could allow conference games beginning as early as October 17 or as late as October 31, the official said. This would let schools to have the possibility of eight games in the books before the College Football Playoff, which has been moved back later in December.
The Big Ten announced August 11 it was postponing the 2020-21 fall sports season, just six days after it released a football schedule, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pac-12, another of the “Power Five” NCAA conferences, joined the Big Ten in officially postponing fall sports amid continued concerns over student-athletes competing during a pandemic. But the other major conferences — the ACC, Big 12, and SEC — already have plans to play out its seasons as planned, with the ACC having already started playing games despite the league saying there will be no championships.
The vote is being conducted with the focus being on football, which comes as no surprise considering football can generate millions of dollars in revenue for many universities. Indoor sports such as volleyball are not being considered as they cannot be played safely. It is unclear whether other outdoor sports are being considered and will be allowed to compete, and an announcement is expected to come Tuesday.
The Big Ten has found itself under increasing pressure recently to move forward, with some athletes, coaches and even the President of the United States saying the conference should play.
The vote comes as Michigan State and Wisconsin, two members of the conference, are asking students to quarantine following rising case numbers.
Should games proceed, it remains an open question whether — or how many — fans would be allowed into stadiums as spectators. Vanderbilt University is the lone school from the Southeastern Conference that will not allow fans into stadiums to start the season, and many NFL teams are not allowing fans into stadiums for games.