Big Ten fall football postponed, will attempt to play in spring

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Big Ten presidents have voted to postpone the 2020 college football season and attempt to play the season in the spring, according to the Big Ten Conference.

The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“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.

Over the weekend, Ohio State confirmed that incoming OSU president Kristina Johnson represented the university on a call among Big Ten presidents to discuss the fate of fall sports.

This decision comes despite significant push back from Ohio State players and coaches who advocated for a season on social media.

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. 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.
 
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. 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.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren

The postponement announcement came during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus briefing.

It was a decision that has to be made by the schools. They weighed many things and I’m sure they start off with the safety of their players. I think it’s a disappointment for Buckeye nation probably more importantly it’s a disappointment for the young men who play football.

Gov. Mike DeWine

Former OSU linebacker Joshua Perry, who retired from the NFL due to concerns about concussions, said football players accept some risk every time they step out on the field. But, he said, COVID-19 carries some unknowns.

“I knew the risks associated with that,” Perry said. “I knew what my tolerance was. I think the biggest problem here is when you’re talking about the coronavirus, we’re learning about new risk factors that are associated with it every single day.  And it’s really hard to assess risk when you don’t know what all the risks are.”

Perry said current players will now have to focus on things they can control and try to stay positive through what should have been their football season.

“I think the right thing to do would be to keep guys on campus, but just kind of send them away from the facility for a little bit,” Perry said. “Let them kind of cope and grieve with it on their own and then kind of get back into the flow of things. The reality of the situation, though, is football is a sport with such a finite timeframe and so every rep that you lose, as a player, it’s really hard to reconcile with.”

Former OSU linebacker Zach Boren said the loss of the fall season will be very costly for some players.

“You lose a year of exposure and so many of these NFL scouts are looking at film,” Boren said. “They don’t just go to the combine and test based on projections. This is taking a year out of a player’s life and taking a year out of opportunity to further their career in the NFL.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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