Big Ten Cancels Its 2020 Football Season, What Comes Next?

Bryan Driskell

Multiple reports are saying the Big Ten presidents have voted to cancel the 2020 fall football season, and that leagues will attempt to play in the spring.

So what does that mean for Notre Dame and for the rest of college football?

Well, one way this impacts Notre Dame, or at least Notre Dame fans, is they don't have to hear from Big Ten fans who say the Irish should join their league.

Outside of that, this doesn't have an impact on Notre Dame's potential for a 2020 season, at least not directly. There will now be a great deal of pressure on ACC, SEC and Big 12 school presidents from some in the media, some on the political level and through backdoor channels with Big Ten leaders.

The Big Ten presidents, and commissioner Kevin Warren, have reportedly been trying for several days to convince other Power 5 leagues to join them in sitting out the fall. The reason is obvious, they do not want to cancel the season, for whatever reasons they might have, and have other Power 5 leagues continue to play. What if those leagues play and things go off smoothly? That would likely have disastrous financial and perception ramifications for the leadership of the Big Ten and its member institutions.

Of course, the opposite could also be true. The other leagues might attempt to play and things go horribly wrong, and the Big Ten leaders look smart and wise. I would imagine most would root for the former, as that would mean COVID-19 is being handled.

One of three big questions now exist.

1) Will this domino result in the other four Power 5 leagues ultimately canceling, or will they make their own decisions? With the Big Ten now canceling the Pac 12 will likely follow suit in the very near future. That will only give proponents of canceling the season more ammunition against the other Power 5 commissioners and presidents.

2) Will some Big Ten members decide to play in a different league this season? The Big 12, which only has 12 teams, could look at this as an opportunity to get Nebraska back, even if for just one season. Would that then have a similar enticement to those Big Ten teams, especially Nebraska, as the ACC's overtures could have with Notre Dame.

3) Should the other three Power 5 conferences continue for the fall, how will this decision by the Big Ten, and the eventual decision by the Pac 12, impact decisions made by the NCAA in regards to players looking to transfer. The reality is unless the NFL completely changes its offseason there will be a number of players who won't play in the spring and will instead skip it and start preparing for the NFL Draft.

Will the NCAA allow Big Ten and Pac 12 players to transfer and have immediate eligibility? Will the NCAA expand scholarship numbers by the remaining leagues to allow them to accommodate players from the Big Ten, Pac 12, MAC and Mountain West? 

Should the ACC and Notre Dame decide to play, how would Notre Dame go about possibly adding new players. A player like Oregon's Thomas Graham or Stanford's Paulson Adebo, two former Notre Dame commits (one silent, one public) come to mind.

If those leagues play I am also very curious to see how these decisions by the Big Ten and Pac 12 impact recruiting, both present and future.

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Comments (7)
No. 1-4

Would there truly be any legs to these schools joining a different conference for one season? I would have to guess that there are contractual issues that would prevent them from doing so, but I don't know much about it.


Assuming the three remaining conferences play, how does this affect the CFP? Does it proceed without Ohio St or do they hold the CFP in April/May? Let’s hope that question is relevant.


Thing is even if they play in the spring (March-May/June) are they going to play in the fall. These guys will need time to recover both physically and mentally. I just don't get the college spring football if it's only the Pac-12 or BG10, are they going to play for a championship? Would those games even count? It makes no sense. You might as well say we will resume play in fall of '21.

This is just a whole cluster !@#$. The AD's and Pres. had ample time to come up with a plan and still messed it up. This is the Pac-12 and BG10 praying that the other conferences cancel. Deep down i know both the Pac-12 and BG10 knew they were not going to play this year and they strung it along. THIS SUCKS.


I highly doubt there will be play in the spring. I think that's just a balloon being floated to justify conferences canceling this fall, to just make it sound more like a delay. Then spring rolls around, and they say, "sorry, we can't make it work this spring, let's try again this fall."