- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2020

The Big Ten Conference is expected to announce the cancellation of its 2020 football season Tuesday, multiple reports said, mere days after it released a revised schedule featuring 10 conference games for every team.

Broadcaster Dan Patrick said a source told him that 12 of the conference’s 14 university presidents voted to call off the season due to continued COVID-19 health and safety concerns. Iowa and Nebraska cast the two dissenting votes.

The Detroit Free Press later confirmed the report.

This would make the Big Ten the first of the power five conferences to call off the football season, the biggest moneymaker in college athletics. The Mid American Conference postponed football and other fall sports over the weekend, the biggest Division I conference to do so to this point.

The University of Connecticut also decided not to play football in 2020. Connecticut was about to be a football independent for the first time after leaving the American Athletic Conference, and other conferences planning on conference-only schedules hampered the Huskies’ schedule.

The Big Ten appeared to be trying to move forward in 2020 with a 10-game, conference only schedule. Maryland and other member institutions released their new schedules last Wednesday; the Terrapins would have opened Sept. 5 on the road at Iowa.

Some college football stars like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields are expressing their desire to play the season on social media. Lawrence argued that athletes would be put at greater risk of COVID-19 if sent home from their college campuses than they would be from playing football.

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, wrote a letter to the conference’s presidents and chancellors obtained by Sports Illustrated, in which he argued against the season’s cancellation because students could be put at greater risk of the virus.

“Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence have made similar points persuasively: Canceling the fall season would mean closing down socially-distanced, structured programs for these athletes. Young men will be pushed away from universities that are uniquely positioned to provide them with testing and health care.”

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