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Sources: Power 5 Conferences Moving Toward Canceling Fall Sports

High-level conference meetings are being planned for this week across the college football landscape with the expected resolution of postponing fall sports until 2021, multiple sources have told Sports Illustrated.

“It’s gotten to a critical stage,” one conference commissioner told Sports Illustrated Sunday, after a conference call between the heads of the Power 5 conferences. “I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.”

Dominoes started falling in earnest Saturday when the Mid-American Conference postponed fall sports. The Big Ten followed with an announcement that it was pausing its scheduled progression to full-pads football practices. A well-placed source told SI Saturday, “I think by the end of the week the fall sports will be postponed in all conferences.”

Even that timetable might be accelerated. Sources told SI on Sunday that the Big Ten is moving toward a decision to cancel the 2020 fall season, while engaging other Power 5 conferences on a uniform decision to be announced later this week. 

Group of 5 league representatives simultaneously were conferring to align their own timelines, a source said.

Both the Pac-12 and Big 12 have calls with league presidents on Tuesday night that might present the first scheduled opportunity for Power 5 leagues to formally vote on postponement. But other calls could be scheduled earlier. 

A Big Ten presidents call to discuss the season was planned for Sunday night, SI confirmed. Conference USA had a call previously scheduled for Wednesday, but that may be moved up, sources said. Sun Belt presidents have a regularly scheduled Tuesday morning meeting, as do AAC athletic directors. 

The move toward halting the season comes as a jarring about-face after leagues spent most of the last week finalizing football schedule models and/or releasing schedules. Any momentum toward playing those games was abruptly halted by the MAC's decision to postpone, citing health and safety concerns for athletics amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That set a precedent that the other nine Football Bowl Subdivision conferences were compelled to follow — and quickly.

"In the next 72 hours college football is going to come to a complete stop,” one industry source said.