UPDATE: Big Ten, Pac-12 postpone all fall sports; ACC, SEC stand firm

Coronavirus

Pac-12 decision effectively freezes all sports until Jan. 1

UPDATE (Posted Aug. 11, 2020 / 6:06 p.m. EDT)

The ACC and SEC are standing firm on their approach to college football season, at least for now. 

Both conferences released statements on Twitter Tuesday evening. The ACC said it will continue to follow the same procedures it has used for the last several months by considering advice from medical professionals and following state and local health guidelines. 

“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,” the statement read. 

The ACC also said it will adjust its plans if needed: 

Minutes after the ACC published its statement, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey also released a statement on Twitter. 

“I looked forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today,” Sankey said. “I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student athletes.”

At the time of this update, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby had not issued a public comment Tuesday. 

UPDATE (Posted Aug. 11, 2020 / 4:27 p.m. EDT)

The Pac-12 has become the second Power 5 conference to postpone all fall sports.

According to a statement from the conference, the Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously to postpone all sports through the end of the calendar year.

“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,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “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.”

The Pac-12 will consider resuming competition for impacted sports after Jan. 1, 2021 if conditions improve.

ORIGINAL STORY (Posted Aug. 11, 2020 / 03:08 PM EDT)

The Big Ten Conference has postponed all fall sports, including football, to the spring, becoming the first major conference to do so as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The announcement was not unexpected. Multiple media outlets had previously reported that the decision makers in the Big Ten were heavily weighing the postponement or cancelation of the season. The official announcement from the league came Tuesday afternoon. 

According to a statement from the conference, the postponement applies to all regular season contests and conference championships. 

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors. 

In addition to football, the fall sports impacted by this decision include: men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. 

The Big Ten says it will continue to evaluate its options with these sports, including possible competition in the spring. The league will also continue to monitor the status of winter and spring sports. 

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”

Two Group of 5 conferences, the Mid-American and Mountain West, have also postponed fall sports, as have several FCS leagues. 

The other Power 5 conferences appear as though they’re leaning in different directions as most football teams have begun fall camp. At the time of the Big Ten’s announcement, the SEC and ACC were reportedly committed to attempting to play fall sports, with the Pac-12 reportedly considering following the lead of the Big Ten.

The Big 12 still hasn’t released a revised football schedule, even though it announced plans for a “9+1” regular season last week. The conference’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Tuesday night.

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