West Virginia's September 19 Matchup Against Maryland Cancelled
The Big Ten Conference officially announced a conference-only schedule Thursday evening as first reported by Nicole Auerback of The Athletic. Big Ten Conference Member Maryland was slated to meet West Virginia Saturday, September 19th in Morgantown.
West Virginia still has the season opener in Atlanta against Florida State on September 5 and the following week for the home opener versus Eastern Kentucky remaining on the non-conference portion of the schedule.
Whether or not other conferences follow suit is yet to be determined but Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reported on via Twitter that the "SEC football caches held their weekly conference call this morning with league headquarters. No change in play/practice plans."
Thursday morning, Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde and Dellenger collaborated on the state of college football titled; "'We're Definitely Heading the Wrong Way': As Virus Cases Spike, Hurdles to a College Football Season Mount" as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the United States.
Within the last month, programs around the country are having to temporarily suspend voluntary workouts. Most recently Ohio State, and within the Big 12 Conference, Kansas and Kansas State.
West Virginia has only reported six positive cases and head coach Neal Brown stated a couple of weeks ago that the first player has since tested negative as they seem to have a handle on the situation, for now.
West Virginia athletic director and chairman of the NCAA Football Oversight Committee Shane Lyons was "cautiously optimistic" from the outset that not only would there be a college football season but that it would start on time. Now, he seems a little bit apprehensive about what the 2020 season will potentially look like.
“Until two weeks ago, everybody felt pretty good about starting on time on Sept. 5 and Aug. 29,” Lyons told Sports Illustrated. “The last two weeks have really put a wet blanket on that, and we’re saying, ‘Maybe that’s not going to happen.’”
Contingency plans were essentially put on the back burner once the NCAA Football Oversight Committee proposed the offseason schedule that also included the initial start date (August 7) for fall camp as the Coronavirus numbers steadily fell.
Currently, with cases on the rise, athletic directors and conference commissioners have been taking a look at other options and for now, it appears that they are set on; Playing an abbreviated season of only conference games that would likely begin later than Labor Day. However, there still is the option to move the season to the spring.
“Time is starting to catch up to us,” says Lyons. “Tough decisions are going to have to be made. Are we going to kick off Sept. 5, delay it, or worse case scenario, not play at all?”
To get a better understanding of the current situation of college athletics, get the full story by Pat Forde and Ross Delenger that includes comments from team physicians, athletic directors, and conference commissioners by clicking here.
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