Big Ten cancels fall football season, hopes to attempt to play spring season

Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Justin Fields, Ohio State Buckeyes. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Big Ten has canceled the fall football season and will attempt to play in the spring.

After reports suggested the move was all but inevitable, the Big Ten has officially voted to cancel the fall college football season. The news was first reported by Pete Thamel of Yahoo.

On Monday, Dan Patrick reported on his radio show that the 14 Big Ten presidents voted 12-2 in favor of canceling the season. However, that vote wasn’t official until Tuesday afternoon.

After the groundswell of support from players, coaches and parents of coaches from around the Big Ten, there was a semblance of hope that their voices could persuade university presidents to move forward with the fall football season by pushing back the start date to Sept. 26.

In the end, there was no move to delay the season and they are the first Power 5 league to cancel the fall season and announce plans for a spring season. The Big Ten follows decisions by the MAC, Mountain West in the FBS to cancel the fall season.

Big Ten statement on cancelation of fall football season

“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 and Northwestern University President.

“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.

“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Coaches and players, most notably from Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska were most vocal with Heisman front-runner, Justin Fields leading a charge on Sunday night with a “We Want to Play” movement but that effort has failed.

Schools may want to join other conferences if those conferences move forward, but the financial ramifications involved make that basically impossible.

The logistics of a spring season will come forward in the coming days, weeks and months about when it’ll start, how many games will be played and if there will be a champion crowned. But it’s safe to assume players like Fields and other first, second and third-round prospects have likely played their final game of college football.

This is a sad and historic day for college football players, fans, coaches and everyone affected by this decision.

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