Report: Big Ten Announces Conference-Only Football Schedule for 2020

Big Ten Conference

Tyler Martin

Coming off the heels of the Ivy League's decision to postpone fall and winter sports until Jan. 1, the Big Ten Conference is apparently headed toward having a conference-only football schedule this fall. 

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic was first to report the news. She is also reporting that the Pac-12 will likely announce that it will go conference-only as well in the coming days. That would mean Alabama's season opener with USC in Arlington is in jeopardy.

The Big Ten has released the following statement:

"We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority.

To that end, the Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.

This decision was made following many thoughtful conversations over several months between the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Directors of Athletics, Conference Office staff, and medical experts including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.

In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.

While Big Ten member institutions continue to rely on the most up-to-date medical information to establish the best protocols for voluntary workouts on their campuses, in compliance with local and state regulations, the Conference is working with the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee to finalize Conference-wide protocols.

As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate."

Brett McMurphy of Stadium is reporting that the ACC will shift its football schedule to conference only, too. Notre Dame will be included in those games according to McMurphy.

As far as the Southeastern Conference is concerned, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger are reporting that all 14 SEC athletic directors will meet at the league offices in person on Monday. 

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

Greg Sankey of the SEC was attacked when he said that the SEC would play football even if no one else was playing. How dare he to imply that the SEC would make decisions independently of other conferences? Now it seems that the other conferences are doing exactly what Sankey was attacked for.

Christopher Walsh
Christopher Walsh


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