Reports: College football on the verge of being canceled/suspended

Ryan Kostecka

It appears that all of the hard work college football officials have put into making this season happening was all for nothing.

According to reports that broke out late Sunday night, multiple sports and news outlets, including Sports Illustrated, are saying that the upcoming college football season is close to being canceled/suspended.

“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.”

The cancellation of the season became a real possibility on Saturday when the Mid-American conference announced that it was postponing all fall sports, including football, becoming the first conference to do so. The Big Ten then added fuel to the fire when it announced that it was slowing down its typical progression into full contact with pads on during football practice.

"While we are disappointed by the loss of our fall competitive seasons, we applaud our leaders for prioritizing our health and safety," the MAC said in a statement. "Moving forward we want to make sure this does not equate to the loss of eligibility for our athletes. As the spring approaches we call on Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher to use the coming months to develop uniformed protocols and guidelines to avoid a similar scenario for our spring athletes. #MACUNITED #SPRINGINTOMACTION"

Ironically enough, the Big Ten conference was the first conference to state that it would begin the college football season on Labor Day weekend at the beginning of September, a full 3-4 weeks before the other Power 5 conferences are scheduled to begin playing.

"The decision was to afford us the best possible opportunity to be as flexible as we possibly can," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said. "And and that was one of the reasons why when we decided to go to a ten-game only schedule, a Big-Ten only conference schedule, is that we're hopeful that this builds an opportunity for us to remain as flexible as we possibly can.

"So as you're aware, if something were to happen, where we didn't start on September 5, we have the flexibility to start even on September 12, or the 19th. And because we have both open dates throughout the schedule, and on the back end, we would be able to collapse some of those early dates to a later date. So the big thing for us right now, always is, number one, the health and safety of our student athletes and everyone in our community. But but also is to have as much flexibility as we possibly can."

A well-placed source then told SI on Saturday, “I think by the end of the week the fall sports will be postponed in all conferences.”

Following the drama on Saturday, the Big Ten then really got things going when reports began to trickle out that the conference was moving towards cancelling the entire 2020 season. The Big Ten was also in talks with the four other Power 5 conferences in order to have a uniform decision to cancel/suspend the 2020 season altogether.

The Pac-12 and Big 12, despite reports from Dan Patrick that they're cancelling the seasons, both have calls with their league presidents on Tuesday night, part of their standard and regularly scheduled calls, not ones out of emergency. But those calls are sure to discuss the fate of college football and could potentially allow its leagues to formally vote on postponement.

According to the reports by Dan Patrick as part of the Dan Patrick Show, the Big Ten has already voted on the cancellation of the season, winning in 12-2 vote.

Patrick also alluded to reports that the Pac-12 has already made a decision and will be cancelling its season tomorrow, just not wanting to be the first conference to pull the plug on the issue.

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.

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