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Sources: Big Ten to cancel 2020 football season

Joey Kaufman
jkaufman@dispatch.com
Kristina M. Johnson appointed 16th president of The Ohio State University, Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

The Big Ten Conference has voted to cancel the 2020 football season, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The newspaper, citing sources who were not authorized to speak on the matter publicly, said the official announcement would come Tuesday.

On Sunday, presidents and chancellors from the conference met via conference call, convening for a second consecutive day as the fate of the coming college football season looked increasingly tenuous amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Multiple news reports said the league was considering canceling fall sports, less than a week after it had released a 10-game, conference-only football schedule to begin Labor Day weekend.

A majority of the Big Ten presidents have been in favor of canceling the football season since Saturday, according to Yahoo! Sports, though it was not a unanimous sentiment held among the high-ranking decision-makers.

On his radio show Monday, sportscaster Dan Patrick said the conference voted 12-2 to cancel football and other fall sports, with Iowa and Nebraska voting to continue with the seasons as scheduled.

The move comes two days after the Mid-American Conference announced it was canceling fall sports for 2020, becoming the first league in Football Bowl Subdivision to make the move.

According to the Free Press, the Big Ten is trying to coordinate its announcement with the other Power Five conferences -- the Pac 12, the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences.

Sources also told the Free Press that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren prefers a spring football season, though no decision has been made on that front.

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Ohio State president-elect Kristina Johnson participated in Sunday’s call after she had been absent Saturday, a school spokesman told The Dispatch.

Johnson does not begin her term as the university’s president until later this month, succeeding Michael V. Drake, who retired before taking over as the president of the University of California system.

Warren was expected to debrief Johnson following their meeting on Saturday.

The meeting on Saturday had previously been scheduled before discussions continued throughout the weekend. No final decision was announced.

Despite the season’s uncertainty, Ohio State went ahead with a previously scheduled practice Monday morning, according to a team spokesman.

No Power Five conference has moved to either cancel or postpone fall sports. Last week, the ACC and SEC joined the Big Ten and Pac 12 in releasing revised schedules for a fall football season.

But the MAC’s move to postpone fall sports, may begin a possible domino effect across the highest division in college sports.

Connecticut, an independent program in the FBS, also canceled its football season on Thursday.

Despite the reported momentum toward canceling fall sports, several Big Ten football programs opened preseason training camps last week.

That included Ohio State, which began practices on Thursday as it looks toward facing Illinois in its newly scheduled season opener for Sept. 3.

But the Buckeyes and other teams were in a holding pattern as soon as Saturday after the Big Ten told teams not to progress to the next phase of the preseason, which includes padded practices. Players were to remain in helmets only, without wearing shoulder pads.

The conference cited the advice from its infectious disease task force and sports medicine committee, noting in a statement it sought to “continue to transition prudently through preseason practice.”

According to Yahoo's report, Warren followed up late Sunday, telling programs to “go light” in practices that were scheduled for Monday.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman

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