The Big Ten Conference has postponed their 2020 football season, the league announced on Tuesday.
The move, a result of the ongoing novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, comes only six days after the conference released their revised 2020 football schedule.
“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 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,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “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.
Big Ten sports included in the announcement, in addition to football, are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.
Per the release, the Big Ten will “…evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring.”
The Big Ten is the third Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference to postpone their 2020 season, joining the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and the Mountain West Conference.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference,” Warren stated. “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.”