Report: Big 10, Pac 12 to cancel fall football season

According to reports, both the Big 10 and the Pac 12 collegiate sports conferences will cancel the upcoming fall 2020 football season.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State
Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes attempts a pass against the Clemson Tigers in the second half during the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The fallout from the coronavirus pandemic potentially claims another industry as college football may be put on hold. Both the Big 10 and the Pac 12 conferences are expected to formally announce season cancellations.

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According to the Detroit Free Press, The Big Ten is expected to cancel the 2020 college football season, a decision the news outlet confirmed with a high-ranking source. Reportedly, presidents of the institutions who claim membership in the Big 10 voted 12-2 to end the season.

The news, first shared by Dan Patrick during his radio show, claims the Pac 12 also voted to cancel its fall football season. Patrick says three Big 10 teams confirmed to him the season would not go on as planned and he shares the two teams who voted against cancelation.

As recent as five days ago, the Big 10 had approved plans to continue with the 2020-2021 season. A schedule, released on social media, provided hope for players and fans, however the conference noted that it did not make any promises.

“While the Conference remains hopeful for a September 2020 start in all fall sports, including football, issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur, the Big 10 said in an official statement, issued on August 5.

“While our strategy is to continue planning for all fall sports, if the virus continues to spread among our students despite our many preventative measures, including testing and quarantine protocols, we are also prepared to delay or cancel competition pursuant to local and state public health orders or the recommendations of our medical experts.”

The Pac-12 has also previously confirmed a 2020-2021 competitive schedule. A week ago, the conference shared an 11-week lineup.

“From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, we have been committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those connected to our athletic programs,” says Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott in a statement issued on July 31.

“The schedule and plans approved today and path to return to competition are subject to public health orders and will be taken in accordance with the health and well-being guidelines developed by our Pac-12 Medical Advisory Committee.”

Players have mixed feelings on whether or not to take the field. The Free Press reports four Michigan State players said they wouldn’t play in 2020, and one team source said more players were expected to follow. 

MSU linebacker Marcel Lewis opted out of the season. He lost a family member to COVID-19 and does not want to take the risk. Justin Stevens, an offensive tackle, cites respiratory issues that could make him high risk in his decision to sit-out.

According to the Free Press, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons and Purdue wideout Rondale Moore have all decided not to play and to direct their energy to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft.

Indiana offensive lineman Brady Feeney, who tested positive for coronavirus had his complications with the illness shared in a now-viral Facebook post by his mother.

“After 14 days of hell battling the horrible virus, his school did additional testing on all those that were positive,” writes mom Deborah Rucker according to Indy Star.

“My son even received extra tests because he was one of the worst cases. Now we are dealing with possible heart issues! He is still experiencing additional symptoms and his blood work is indicating additional problems.”

Still, some players desire to suit up and their families are supporting them. Using the hashtag #WeWantToPlay players, coaches, family, fans, politicians, and others have pushed for the continuation of fall football.

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Ohio State University quarterback Justin Fields, University if Lousiville wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, University of Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler, and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence are among the active players to advocate for the upcoming season.

“We are more likely to get the virus in everyday life than playing football,” Lawrence said via Twitter. “Having a season also incentivizes players being safe and taking all of the right precautions to try to avoid contracting COVID because the season/ teammates safety is on the line. Without the season, as we’ve seen already, people will not social distance or wear masks and take the proper precautions.”

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