ACC, SEC, Big 12 Stand Firm on Playing Football

Ashley Barnett

Tuesday marked a historic and somber day in college football history - a day in which many are still reeling from. 

Uncertainty has continuously lingered in the air regarding the fate of the 2020 college football season as concerns rise surrounding COVID-19. Will football be played? Will the season be postponed? Or will it all just outright be cancelled? 

In the last 24 hours, some of those questions were answered. 

As the Big Ten and the Pac-12 pulled the plug on their upcoming fall sports seasons on Tuesday, it became more increasingly aware that the likelihood of football kicking off in just a few short weeks is hanging by a fragile thread. 

With the dominoes seemingly falling among the Power Five leagues, the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference awaited the crucial decision the Big 12 would make following the postponed fall football seasons of the Big Ten and Pac-12.  

Prior to the Big 12 announcing Tuesday evening they'd proceed towards playing football with its scheduled start, the ACC released its on statement via Twitter. 

The ACC will continue to make decisions based on medical advice, inclusive of our Medical Advisory Group, local and state health guidelines, and do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities' academic missions.

The safety of our students, staff, and overall campus communities will always be our top priority, and we are pleased with the protocols being administered on our 15 campuses. We will continue to follow our process that has been in place for months and has served us well.

We understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information and the landscape evolves.

- Statement from the Atlantic Coast Conference

According to Sports Business Daily, Duke infectious disease specialist Dr. Cameron Wolfe believes college football can be played in the upcoming fall safely. The ability to manage the risk of the coronavirus spreading among college football players and staff members has been a key reason why the ACC as not yet given up on playing sports this fall. 

Currently, college football is set to be played in September - with "Week Zero" games still scheduled among a few Big 12 programs on August 29. 

The remaining Power Five conferences pressing onward with a scheduled fall football season still face an upward battle. The marquee conferences are officially split in their decision to move forward (with two leagues out, and three leagues in), and lawyers will be knocking on the door of those who play at any given cost.  

College sports attorney Tom Mars recently spoke with Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and shared a heeded caution to the Big 12, SEC and ACC:

“Whatever conference(s) decides to play football this fall will be taking a ridiculously high risk they may soon regret," Mars told Forde. "I know and have talked with some of the best plaintiff’s lawyers in the country this week, and they’re praying the SEC, Big 12 and/or the ACC are greedy enough to stay the course. If things go sideways, the plaintiff’s Bar will immediately get their hands on the internal financial analyses of the schools (a FOIA layup), get the conference financials through the discovery process, and then just stand in front of the jurors and point to the conferences that decided not to risk the health of their student-athletes. Good Lord, I’d hate to be the lawyers defending those cases.”

Related Links:

Report: ACC Has Full Intention of Playing 2020 CFB Season

Georgia Tech Players Join the Fight to Save 2020 Season

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