Despite significant push back by the players, the Big Ten appears set to pull the plug on the 2020 fall football season.
Radio Show host Dan Patrick reported on Monday morning that 12 of the 14 presidents from the Big 10 have voted against having a fall college football season. The presidents of Iowa and Nebraska want to play according to Patrick.
Later on Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported that the decision has been made by the league, with an announcement coming on Tuesday.
“The Big Ten has voted to cancel the 2020 college football season in a historic move that stems from concerns related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, multiple people with knowledge of the decision confirmed to the Free Press.”
It isn’t clear at this time how the university presidents are reconciling having students on campus in close confines without testing while cancelling the football season due to COVID-19 concerns.
IU head coach Tom Allen indicated last week that the positive cases of the virus in the program have been traced to off campus origins.
“Things have not happened here and they try and go back and target where the contact occurred and it’s been off campus,” Allen said.
Other coaches, including Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, have relayed similar feedback regarding the relative safety of the college football facilities.
Now the directive from the Big Ten presidents appears to be for players to spend more time away from the football facilities while remaining at school and attending live classes.
Indiana wide receiver Whop Philyor was one of many players across the country that voiced their desire to play this fall.
— Whop Philyor™ (@SuperstarWhop) August 10, 2020
IU freshman tackle Brady Feeney, who contracted COVID-19 this summer and suffered complications, encouraged a cautious approach guided by medical leaders.
“Covid-19 is serious. I never thought that I would have serious health complications from this virus, but look at what happened,” Feeney said in a Twitter post. “We need to listen to our medical experts.”
In a subsequent post, Feeney said that he wants to play under the right circumstances.
“I want to play, but I truly believe that we need it to be safe,” Feeney said.
For his part, Allen was holding out hope that the season could be salvaged.
Or at least operating under the status quo until someone tells him to do otherwise.
“As long as doctors say we can do this, we’re going to do it, and if they tell us we can’t, we won’t, Allen said on a Zoom meeting with the media on Monday morning. “Everything has gone really, really well. Haven’t had guys showing up having issues with their health.
“It’s been a good first four days (of practice), and we’re excited to get back on the field tomorrow (Tuesday).”
It now appears highly unlikely that Tuesday practice will occur.
While the season will not occur in the fall, the possibility remains that college football could somehow be salvaged in the spring.
That is something that Allen was not yet prepared to discuss in depth.
Allen, whose son Thomas plays on the team, did suggest, however, that he would have reservations about playing in the spring, citing concerns about the physical toll on the players of playing in the spring of 2021 and then again in the fall.
“I really haven’t let my mind go there,” Allen said of a potential spring season. “I think it would create a lot of challenges. I would have a lot of concerns about that.”
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