It’s official: The Big Ten and Pac-12 will not have fall football this season. Both conferences announced their decisions to cancel all fall sports on Tuesday, August 11, as schools try and figure out how to make everything work as the coronavirus pandemic continues to run rampant.
The Big Ten, amid rumors that had been spreading around the cancelation, was also the first to cancel all non-conference play for the season. The Mountain West and Mid-American Conferences have already canceled their seasons, as have UConn, ODU, and James Madison.
“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 the conference’s official announcement. “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.”
While both conferences kept the option of spring football open, the logistics are difficult.
The Pac-12 also officially canceled all basketball until January 1.
The ACC put out a statement shortly after the Big Ten and Pac-12 had made their final decisions.
“The ACC will continue to make decisions based on medical advice, inclusive of our Medical Advisory Group, local and state health guidelines, and do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions,” the statement says.
The SEC followed with a statement of their own, though the sentiment was similar, highlighting commitment to trying to find the safest way to make a season possible for the student-athletes.
For those trying to find some optimism amidst all this news, the chair of the ACC’s medical advisory team, Dr. Cameron Wolfe, told the Sports Business Journal Daily on Tuesday that, “we believe we can mitigate it down to a level that makes everyone safe.”
“We have to co-exist with COVID. I like that saying because it summarizes a reality that this virus isn’t going anywhere. Whilst it ebbs and flows, we’re not going to see it ebb to zero anytime soon,” Wolfe stated. He has been in direct contact with the ACC’s decision-makers, including Commissioner John Swofford.
The Big-12 could be a factor in the upcoming decision, but they’re reportedly split.
It’s unclear when there will be a definitive decision from the ACC, but Virginia’s season is supposed to start in 31 days when the Hoos host VMI. Stay tuned for more updates as they become available.