Two Major Collegiate Conferences Cancel All Fall Sports, Including Football

( Two of the Power 5 college athletic conferences voted Tuesday to postpone all fall sports because of concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The chancellors and presidents of the Big Ten Conference were the first domino to fall. The CEO group of the Pac-12 followed next, cancelling all sports through the end of the year.

Both conferences said they are hoping to hold these sport seasons in the spring, instead of cancelling them altogether. How that might work if all schools across the country don’t follow suit is unsolved as of yet.

For now, both the ACC and SEC said they are still planning to hold all their fall sports as planned. The Big 12 has not indicated one way or the other yet — as some schools in the conference have said they want to play while others have said they don’t.

Kevin Warren, the commissioner of the Big Ten, said Tuesday the decision was made with the health of student athletes and the spread of the virus in mind. He told the Big Ten Network:

“All the decisions we would make during my tenure here will always put the mental and physical health and wellness of our student-athletes at the center. We just believed collectively there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports.”

In a statement, Larry Scott, the commissioner of the Pac-12, said:

“The health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes and all those connected to Pac-12 sports has been our number one priority since the start of this current crisis. Our student-athletes, fans, staff and all those who love college sports would like to have seen the season played this calendar year as originally planned, and we know how disappointing this is.”

These two conferences originally announced in July that they would hold a conference-only schedule for football. But the conferences changed course as the pandemic isn’t getting any better in the states where their schools are located.

Not all of the coaches involved in these conferences are happy with the decision. Scott Frost, the head football coach at Nebraska, said he was preparing his team to play this season, even if the Big Ten Conference decided to cancel the season.

On Monday, he said:

“We’re a proud member of the Big Ten. We want to play a Big Ten schedule. I think the only reason we would look at any other options is if for some reason the Big Ten wasn’t playing and only a handful of teams from the Big Ten wanted to continue playing. I think if that’s the case, I think we’re prepared to look at any and all options.”

On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump said it would be a “tragic mistake” if college football isn’t played this fall.

While the decision by the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences doesn’t cancel football and all other fall sports outright, it certainly does put a damper on expectations.