The Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences officially announced on Tuesday that they've postponed their upcoming 2020-21 college football season, which also includes all fall sports, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Both conferences are keeping the option of playing in the spring a possibility.
Pac-12 said in a press release that when conditions improve, they'll consider a return to competition for impacted sports after January 1, 2021.
“All of the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors understand the importance of this decision, and the disappointment it will create for our student-athletes, the coaches, support staff, and all of our fans,” said Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon. “Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the New Year.”
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that playing in a bubble wouldn't work.
“Unlike professional sports, college sports cannot operate in a bubble,” he said in the news release. “Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses in communities where in many cases the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant. We will continue to monitor the situation and when conditions change we will be ready to explore all options to play the impacted sports in the new calendar year.”
In a press release, the Big Ten conference said that multiple factors, which included advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force, contributed to them postponing fall sports.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes have been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in the statement. “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."
The Big Ten Conference was the first major conference to cancel fall athletics.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference," said Warren in the statement. "Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Along with football, the Big Ten said that men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball were also canceled.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
The Big Ten hopes to play football in the spring.