ROSEMONT, Ill — The Big Ten Conference became the first Power 5 Conference to announce they will be postponing the fall football season and their plan…for now… is to play the season in the spring.
The Big Ten presidents met Saturday and reportedly voted, 12-2, to not play football in the fall with the hope of playing the season in the spring of 2021.
Maryland had already had six players opt out of the 2020 football season. That six included last year’s starting quarterback Josh Jackson along with starting offensive linemen Johnny Jordan and Austin Fontaine. Terrapins coach Mike Locksley had voiced supporter for his players saying “obviously with the pandemic and the ability for players to opt out fur to their concerns, we’re really, as an institution, and as a football program, are very supportive of players whether they opt out or opt in.”
The only two schools that voted to play were Nebraska and Iowa. Nebraska announced on Monday that they are prepared to play a fall schedule even if it completely outside of the Big Ten.
The Big Ten presidents met again on Tuesday morning and voted to postpone the fall season and attempt to play in the spring.
BREAKING: The Big Ten presidents have voted to postpone the 2020 college football season with hopes of playing in the spring, per sources.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) August 11, 2020
Big Ten becomes 1st Power 5 league to cancel fall football season, sources told @Stadium. 1st reported by Yahoo. Now 41 of 130 FBS programs will not play in fall, pending decision by Pac-12 today
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 11, 2020
The presidents reportedly met on Sunday night, as well, but did not vote and took no collective action. Today’s announcement may have a domino effects as all eyes are now on the Pac-12, who are expected to make an announcement about fall football soon.
Despite the overwhelming majority of Big Ten presidents voting to cancel fall football, the coaches and players made it known they were not for outright canceling of the season, with many big names calling for, at worst, a pushing back of the season’s start. Some coaches even made it clear they planned to play in the fall, even if that means planing outside of the conference.
Despite only two schools’ presidents voting to play in the fall, it seems you might get a different count if you polled the Big Ten coaches
“We’re a proud member of the Big Ten” said Nebraska head coach Scott Frost on a teleconference with reporters on Monday. “We want to play a Big Ten schedule. I think the only reason we would look at any other options is if for some reason the Big Ten wasn’t playing. I think if that’s the case, I think we’re prepared to look at any and all options.”
Former Maryland assistant and current Penn State football coach James Franklin tweeted out his support of playing the season in the fall on Monday writing “I love our players & believe it is my responsibility to help them chase their dreams, both collectively & individually. I am willing to fight WITH them & for our program! #WeAre”
I love our players & believe it is my responsibility to help them chase their dreams, both collectively & individually. I am willing to fight WITH them & for our program!#WeAre
— James Franklin (@coachjfranklin) August 10, 2020
Ohio State coach Ryan Day took to social media on Monday afternoon, tweeting “Swing as har as we possibly can right now for these players!! This isn’t over.” #FIGHT”
Swinging as hard as we possibly can right now for these players!! This isn’t over! #FIGHT
— Ryan Day (@ryandaytime) August 10, 2020
Day also spoke to reporters on Monday, saying “We cannot cancel the season right now, we have to at least postpone it and give us some time to keep reevaluating everything that is going on.” The second year Buckeyes coach went to plead “Let’s do everything we can, we owe it to these kids to exhaust every possible option and go from there.”
As for the possibility of playing a season outside of the Big Ten, Day said “We need to look at every option, and if that’s what it is and that what is best for our kids, then certainly we need to look at that and do it, but in the meantime there are a lot of other things that are gonna come up along the way that we think we can keep get better at. This virus changes every day, we are leading about it, testing…testing is getting better every day.”
Around the country, Power 5 coaches are speaking out, calling for anything besides outright cancellation of the football season. North Carolina head coach Mack Brown voicing his growing frustration with the uncertainty regarding the ACC fall football season Tuesday. The National Championship winning coach, in his 2nd year in Chapel Hill, said “I would rather someone be in a position if they’re not going to let us start on time at some point, but also tell us what that means. Does that mean we’re going to start in October? Does that mean we play eight games instead of 10? If someone says no, we’re going to move to spring, what does that mean? We’ve got to answer to parents and we’ve got to answer to kids and they’re all going to ask…seniors pro prospects, early enrollees coming in. If we played in the spring, Sam Howell would have last year, spring and fall, and after two years, three years of eligibility, he’d be opting for the draft.”
No one wants to be the first in situations like this, as there is the possibility of being hung out to dry but the Big Ten has taken the leap and now it remains to be seen what the Pac-12, ACC, Big XII and SEC decide to do.
UPDATE: The PAC-12 CEO Group, made \up for the presidents and chancellors of the universities, unanimously voted to cancel fall sports and aim for spring on Tuesday afternoon.
Update on the 2020-21 Pac-12 season below.https://t.co/G6VxDO2VM2
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) August 11, 2020