The Big Ten is leaning toward only playing conference games during the 2020 season, The Athletic and ESPN reported Thursday.
UPDATE: The Big Ten has issued a press release confirming this plan. The league also left open the possibility of not playing the season.
The ESPN piece chronicles the timeline of this decision taking shape, with this seemingly revelatory tidbit:
An assistant coach at a Big Ten program told ESPN that his head coach instructed him to stop scouting and preparing for nonconference opponents and focus only on Big Ten foes.
This move would have a significant impact on schedules downstream, as 30 FBS teams are scheduled to play one Big Ten opponent, with six scheduled to face off with two.
The league season was scheduled to kick off Thursday, Sept. 3, with Florida Atlantic visiting Minnesota. The Golden Gophers will still host the lid-lifter on the Big Ten slate, but it will now take place Friday, Sept. 18 under this plan. Iowa will visit TCF Bank Stadium to launch the conference — and now regular — seasons.
More information on this plan will be released as it is made available.