Big Ten postpones all fall sports, will try to play football in the spring


Photo: Ryan Cole/Impact

Nathan Stearns, Football Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING- For the first time in 125 years, there will be no Big Ten college football in the fall.

The conference announced on Tuesday that all fall sports, including football, will be postponed because of continuing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement released by the conference.  The decision comes only a week after revised football schedules were released for 2020-21.  

 In making the unprecedented decision to postpone the season, conference commissioner Kevin Warren was quoted as saying that “the mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every discussion we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward. 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.”

Warren went on to say that “while I know this 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.”

In a press release, Michigan State University President, Samuel L. Stanley Jr.,  mentioned that “safety remains our top priority and we are still focused on creating a safe environment in which our university’s mission can continue. We are committed to ensuring our students have a successful academic year. We will continue to work with the Big Ten Conference as we look for opportunities for athletics to resume in the future. Collectively, we need to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and others and follow the guidance of our health and medical experts to protect the mental and physical health of our student-athletes.”

According to MSU AD Bill Beekman, the university ‘’tried to be in a place where we could play intercollegiate athletics, and at the time we announced our Return To Campus plan and welcomed student-athletes back on campus in June, things were trending in the right direction. However, it’s become clear that we are simply not in a position to move forward.”

MSU football coach Mel Tucker referenced the fact that “the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 have created enormous stress for our players and their families. Our coaches and staff will continue to support their drive, dreams and decisions. While the conclusion to postpone the season is not easy for anyone, based on the medical recommendations, I respect the decision of the Big Ten Conference. “

The decision to postpone fall sports affects several fall sports including men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.  

The Big Ten is the fourth overall FBS conference —and the first member of the Power Five— to hold off on playing in the fall. The Pac-12, another Power Five conference, also announced that it would be postponing the fall season on Tuesday. The MAC became the first FBS conference to opt-out of the fall season, they were followed shortly after by the Mountain West. Several FCS conferences, including the Ivy and Patriot League, previously announced plans to cancel fall sports. The NCAA also previously canceled all fall championships for both Division II and Division III.