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UPDATED: Big Ten Plans to Cancel 2020 Fall Football Season, per multiple reports

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Much like Michigan’s Big Ten title hopes this season, football season was over before it even started

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Penn State at Michigan State Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is a breaking news story that we will update with further details as they become available. The Big Ten will likely announce tomorrow that the 2020 fall football season (and one assumes all other falls sports would follow thereafter) has been cancelled. This is per confirmed reports from multiple sources with inside knowledge of the matter.

UPDATE: According to the Lansing State Journal, MSU Athletic Director Bill Beekman has said he cannot confirm any reports that the Big Ten has already decided to cancel the fall season. He did, however, state the both the MSU athletic department would need to make deep cuts in the wake of lost revenue from a cancelled season and that a spring schedule for fall sports is a viable option in his opinion.

The Big Ten university presidents voted in a meeting yesterday by a 12-2 margin to cancel the season, per Dan Patrick on his radio show earlier this morning. All but Iowa and Nebraska voted to cancel the season. The previously scheduled meeting over the weekend drew wild speculation on Twitter from insane ideas such as Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Nebraska would all join the Big XII for this season only to less crazy suggestions as the cancellation was imminent following the FCS and MAC decisions.

It is unclear what other conferences will decide, but rumors suggest the PAC-12 will follow with the Big Ten. Other suggestions imply the ACC and Big XII are wavering while the SEC of course intends to plow full steam ahead with their schedule with consideration of adding teams for one season.

As for the news being confirmed Monday morning, it became far too obvious the decision had been made as news broke out that Iowa cancelled their practice Monday morning, Purdue rescheduled media availability to later in the week for players and coaches, and Michigan State moved their free day from Tuesday to Monday among uncertainty.

There is no word yet on whether the conference will try to schedule a spring season or not. It has been widely reported that Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren would like to hold a spring season. This seems difficult to gauge the plausibility of considering the NFL Draft, issues of how to start a season in a timely manner in northern states, and how to work around practices when guidelines clearly state indoor practice should be avoided at all costs to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission. Not to mention how it might affect the fall 2021 football season.

Players weighed in over the weekend hoping to salvage the season, spearheaded in part by Trevor Lawrence and the #WeWantToPlay and #LetUsPlay hashtags. However, other players weighed in as well to point out the risks. Obviously we all know Connor Heyward, but Brady Feeney of Indiana retweeted it with his own cautionary tale of the complications he faces despite being careful in preseason workouts. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh also issued the below statement as well, though it is unclear if he had written this prior to the news breaking or not. No word yet on whether he will be fined for his comments of “tampering.”

The decision to cancel certainly did not come lightly given other factors as well. The college football world is a big business, not just for universities but also for communities. Obviously football drives the biggest revenue in college sports, and the loss of the fall season comes amid huge cuts already as I highlighted last month. Athletic Director Bill Beekman discussed the expected shortfall for MSU alone in comments made to the Lansing Economic Club below. The impact of revenue to local restaurants, bars, and stores selling food and beverages, apparel, and tailgate supplies is no small factor, either.

As for the updated 2020 schedule, we hardly knew you (although, it could be pushed to spring). I bid you a not kind farewell to 2020 and ask that you wake me up when basketball season starts, or just say I overslept it and Tom Izzo won his second national championship with a fake photoshop of the banner that I will never look up to verify.


Update: 1:27 PM ET 8/10

Might want to pump the brakes on this just yet perhaps? Despite “numerous confirmed reports” that the season has already been canceled, Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic is now reporting no vote was held per a Big Ten spokesman. The media frenzy and hysteria continues with no end in sight.


Update: 2:02 p.m. ET 8/10

Graham Couch has tweeted that the Big Ten’s presidents will be holding a meeting tonight at 6 PM ET to make a final decision on whether to cancel the season now or proceed for the time being.


Update: 11 p.m. ET 8/10

The latest word is there is no word. Besides the below tweets giving the latest indication of no clear direction thus far, I will be speaking for myself at this point and it’s a tone of utter frustration.

The football season that was changed to conference only before it was cancelled before it suddenly is nobody knows what is happening including the people supposedly making these decisions. Even with all the uncertainty we know of surrounding COVID-19, there is simply no excuse for the mess the Big Ten has left sitting around for the media today with no actual word from anyone. Only more rumors that the conference is delaying the season now, but whether that delay is for the hope of a spring season or a later start in the fall remains unclear in the late hours of Monday.

First we had reports all weekend the season was going to be canceled. Then those reports changed to a looming vote. Finally, multiple sources at multiple Big Ten schools confirmed to the Free Press that it was a done deal as I reported earlier. The news breaks, and then we spend all day refusing to confirm anything and saying that nothing was decided except an informal poll. While we let coaches who clearly have little respect for the conference or for healthy diets involving not at all nervous birds grand stand about threats to the decision that was supposedly made, could somebody in charge actually stand up? Clearly there is no real slim shady everybody. Wow my go to references are almost as dated as the pleats in Harbaugh’s khakis.

Meanwhile the conference of “legends and leaders” according to medical experts that have confirmed to ESPN is home to five Big Ten athletes who have caught COVID-19 that since been found to have developed Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Yet more rumors suggest this disturbing news was what initially got the conference discussing a delay to spring seasons. However, there remains nobody thus far to go on the record and give a clear and concise explanation of what has actually happened, what has or has not been halted, and what is still needing to be decided.

While the oldest division one athletic conference in the country remains full of confusion and uncertainty from the public seats, we are left as fans to sit and wait anxiously for yet more rampant speculation on just what is actually happening.


One more here for the night, but this is actually the last update: