UGA football signees

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(Georgia’s press release on its 2012 recruiting class.)

JOHN ATKINS
DL, 6-4, 300
Thomson, Ga., Thomson HS
Born: Dec. 21, 1992…High School: Thomson …SuperPrep All-Dixie Team….Scout.com three-star player, #23 DT in the country, #23 player in the state…Rivals.com three-star player, #40 DT in the country, #52 player in Georgia…ESPNU four-star player, #11 DT in the country, #55 player in the region, #12 player in the state, #119 player in the country…#122 in the ESPNU Top 150…247sports.com four-star player, #17 DT in the country, #16 player in Georgia…Participated in the 2012 Under Armour All-American game…High School Coach: Milan Turner.

COLLIN BARBER
P, 6-2, 191
Cartersville, Ga., Cartersville HS
Born: November 11, 1993…High School: Cartersville… Scout.com three-star prospect…Rivals.com twostar player…ESPN.com three-star player…247sports.com twostar player, #6 punter in the country, #153 player in the state…Member of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AAA All-State team, Member of the Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAA First Team…Participated in the 2011 Georgia High School Association All-Star Game…High School Coach: Frank Barden.

FATON BAUTA
QB, 6-3, 225
West Palm Beach, Fla., Dwyer HS
Born: Jan. 2, 1994…High School: North Clayton…SuperPrep All-Dixie Team….Scout.com three-star Player, #24 QB in the country Rivals.com three-star player, #15 dual QB in the country, #79 Player in Florida…ESPN three-star player, #29 QB in the country, #170 player in the Region, #59 player in Florida…247sports.com three-star player, #7 Dual player in the country, #61 player in Florida…Member of the Orlando Sentinel Class 7A Second Team Offense… High School Coach: Jack Daniels.

MARK BEARD
OL, 6-4, 290
Adamsville, Ala., Coffeyville (Kan.) CC
Born: December 1, 1991….Junior College: Coffeyville CC…Honorable mention 2011 NJCAA All-American team…SuperPrep JUCO 100….First team All-Jayhawk Conference 2011…Rivals.com three-star prospect…Scout.com threestar prospect…247Sports.com three-star player, Ranked #50 among JUCO prospects nationally…Coffeyville CC Head Coach: Darian Dulin.High School: Minor HS…Honorable mention Alabama Sports Writers Association All-State Team 2009…Birmingham News All-West Metro Team…Participated in 2009 Alabama Mississippi All-Star Game…Ranked as #12 in the state of Alabama according to Maxpreps.com following his senior season…Originally signed with Troy University before choosing to attend Coffeyville Community College….High School Coach: Randy Cook.

JOSH DAWSON
LB, 6-4, 225
Tucker, Ga., Tucker HS
Born: January 10, 1994…High School: Tucker…SuperPrep All-America and All-Dixie Teams…2011 Offense-Defense All-American Bowl Team Scout.com four-star prospect, #27 DE nationally, #19 prospect in the state… Rivals.com four-star prospect, #20 DE nationally, #20 overall prospect in Georgia…ESPN.com three-star prospect, #44 DE nationally…247Sports three-star prospect, #27 ranked DE nationally, #30 ranked overall player in the state of Georgia… 2011 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AAAA All-State Team…2010 and 2011 Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA All-State first team…Helped lead Tucker to 2011 GHSA State Championship…As a junior recorded 45 tackles, including 16 sacks…High School Coach: Franklin Stephens.

SHELDON DAWSON
ATH, 5-11, 180
Memphis, Tenn., Ridgeway HS
Born December 17, 1993…High School: Ridgeway…SuperPrep All-America and All-Dixie Teams…AutoZone Liberty Bowl High School All Star Game Blue Team…Scout.com four-star recruit, #11 ranked cornerback nationally, #1 player in the state …Rivals.com three star recruit, #27 Athlete nationally, #11 overall in Tennessee… ESPN.com three-star recruit, #69 CB nationally, #28 overall in Tennessee…Maxpreps.com #26 overall in Tennessee… 247sports.com fourstar recruit, #8 ranked Athlete nationally, #92 overall prospect nationally, #1 overall in Tennessee…Threat at RB, WR, and CB positions…Helped lead his team to a 9-4 record in 2011 Head Coach: Duron Sutton.

JAMES DeLOACH
LB, 6-3, 260
Millen, Ga., Jenkins County HS
Born: Feb. 13, 1994…High School: Jenkins County…SuperPrep All-Dixie Team…Espn.com four-star prospect…Rivals.com three-star prospect, ranked #50 overall in the state of Georgia…Scout.com three-star prospect, ranked as #74 DE nationally…247Sports three-star prospect, #37 ranked DE nationally, #46 ranked overall player in the state of Georgia… Teammate of DT Jonathan Taylor who also signed with Georgia…Recorded eight sacks while playing in just four games his junior season, missed most games due to a broken arm…Intends to pursue a degree in radiology…High School Coach: Chuck Conley.

TY FLOURNOY-SMITH
TE, 6-3, 228
Moultrie, Ga., Colquitt County HS
BORN: December 17, 1993…High School: Colquitt County…SuperPrep All-Dixie Team…Rivals.com three-star prospect, #12 TE nationally, #32 overall prospect in Georgia…Scout.com three-star prospect, #18 TE prospect nationally…ESPN.com four-star prospect, #10 TE, #22 in Georgia, #112 in the region…24/7sports.com three-star prospect, #22 TE nationally, #41 overall prospect in Georgia…Atlanta JournalConstitution Class AAAAA All-State…Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAAA All-State First Team …Selected to Georgia High School Association All-Star game…Region 1-AAAAA Offensive Player of the Year…All-Region 1 AAAAA First Team…Helped lead Colquitt County to the state semifinals three-straight years, the only team in Georgia’s highest classification to do so…Had 42 catches for 576 yards in 2010… Ended the 2010 state championship game with seven catches for 84 yards… Recorded 46 catches for 785 yards and five touchdowns in senior year…Caught two-point conversion to lift team to state semifinals in 2011…High School Coach: Rush Propst.

LEONARD FLOYD
LB, 6-4, 215
Eastman, Ga., Dodge County HS
Born: September 8, 1992…High School: Dodge County …..SuprePrep All-Dixie Team…Scout.com fourstar prospect, #18 DE nationally, #142 overall prospect nationally, #11 player in the state…Rivals.com four-star prospect, #13 DE nationally, #177 overall prospect nationally, #12 overall prospect in Georgia…ESPN.com four-star prospect, #28 DE nationally…247Sports four-star prospect, #123 ranked overall player nationally, #10 ranked OLB nationally, #11 ranked overall player in Georgia …Atlanta Journal-Constitution Class AA AllState Team…Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AA AllState first team…As a junior recorded 81 tackles, including 14 for a loss and six sacks, as well as 549 receiving yards and three touchdowns at tight end…High School Coach: Rex Hodges.

TODD GURLEY
RB, 6-1, 195
Tarboro, N.C., Tarboro HS
Born: August 3, 1994….High School: Tarboro…North Carolina Associated Press Player of the Year for 2011… NCPreps.com 2A Player of the Year for 2011… SuperPrep All-Mid-Atlantic Team…ESPN.com four-star prospect, #11 ranked RB, ranked #10 in state of North Carolina overall…Scout.com four-star prospect, #107 player and #13 ranked RB nationally, #5 player in the state…Rivals.com four-star prospect, #5 ranked RB nationally, #42 ranked overall player, #3 player in state of North Carolina… 247Sports four star prospect, #57 ranked overall player nationally, #6 ranked RB nationally, #5 ranked player overall in the state of North Carolina North Carolina Associated Press First Team All State…ESPNHS North Carolina Magazine First Team All State…Won three consecutive 2A State Championships at Tarboro High School…Rushed for 242 yards and four touchdowns in 2011 State Championship game…As a senior totaled 2,600 yards and 38 touchdowns…Played RB and safety during his Junior season, totaling 1,472 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns, as well as 79 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble…Named Rocky Mount Telegram All-Area Offensive Player of the Year for the 2010 season…Ran Track for Team USA in Europe during the Spring and Summer of 2011…High School Coach: Jeff Craddock.

QUAYVON HICKS
RB, 6-2, 245
Blackshear, Ga., Pierce County HS
Born: July 17, 1994…High School: Pierce County…SuperPrep All-Dixie Team…Scout.com threestar prospect, #3 FB nationally, #27 player in the state…Rivals.com three-star prospect, #2 FB nationally, #45 overall prospect in Georgia…ESPN.com three-star prospect, #64 ATH nationally 247sports.com #2 ranked FB nationally, #31 overall prospect in Georgia…2011 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association NorthSouth All-Star Team…Participated in 2011 Under Armour All-American Football Combine…Saw playing time at defensive end, nose tackle, linebacker, tight end and fullback…Also competed on wrestling and track teams… As defensive end, recorded 60 tackles, four sacks, and seven tackles for loss….averaged four yards per carry and scored one TD as RB…lead blocker for seven rushing TD¹s…All-Region second team as DL…High School Coach: Sean Pender.

JORDAN JENKINS
LB, 6-3, 245
Hamilton, Ga., Harris County HS
Born: July 1, 1994…High School: Harris County…SuperPrep Elite 50, All-America, and All-Dixie Teams…ESPNU Top 150…PrepStar 150 Scout.com five-star player, #5 DE and #19 overall prospect in the country, #1 ranked prospect in the state.Rivals.com four-star player, #6 DE and #56 prospect in the country, #3 player in the state…ESPNU four-star player, #8 DE in the country, #32 player in the region, #7 player in the state…247sports.com four-star player, #5 DE and #28 overall prospect in the country, #1 player in Georgia,…Named to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Super 11 and Class AAAA AllState Team… Georgia Sports Writers Association Class AAAA first-team…Participated in the Under Armor All-American game…High School Coach: Tommy Parks.

KEITH MARSHALL
RB, 5-11, 190
Raleigh, N.C., Millbrook HS
Born: February 16, 1994…High School: Millbrook…SuperPrep Elite 50, All-America, and All-Mid-Atlantic Teams….Rivals.com four star prospect, #2 RB nationally, #4 player in North Carolina, #48 overall prospect nationally…Scout.com five-star prospect, #1 RB and #12 overall player nationally, #2 player in the state …ESPN.com five-star prospect, #2 RB nationally, #1 player in North Carolina, #1 player in Southeast Region, #5 overall prospect nationally…24/7sports.com fivestar prospect, #1 RB nationally, #2 player in North Carolina, #21 overall prospect nationally…ESPNU 150…PrepStar fivestar prospect, #1 RB nationally and Dream Team 150 (#14)…MaxPrep five-star prospect, #4 RB nationally and #26 overall prospect nationally…Athlonsports.com consensus #6 prospect nationally…The Sporting News #6 overall prospect nationally…played in the 2012 Under Armour All-American Game…North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year…Cap 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year…HighSchoolOT.com Preseason Player of the Year, 1st team All-State and All-Region…owns Millbrook records for rushing yards in a season and points in a season…Millbrook career-leader in rushing yards with 4,552 and points with 332…as a senior rushed for 1,891 yards and 25 touchdowns on 258 carries, leading Millbrook to a berth in the Class AAAA playoffs…as a junior rushed for 1,539 yards and 17 rushing TDs leading Millbrook to the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs…as a sophomore rushed for 1,165 yards and 11 rushing TDs leading Millbrook to the first round of the Class 4A playoffs…NCHSAA AAAA state 100m champion…High School Coach: Clarence Inscore.

MARSHALL MORGAN
PK, 6-3, 195
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., American Heritage HS
Born: November 28, 1993…High School: American Heritage…Rivals.com three-star prospect, #7 kicker nationally…Scout.com three-star prospect, #7 kicker nationally…ESPN.com three-star prospect, #5 kicker, #104 overall prospect in Florida…24/7sports.com three-star prospect, #6 kicker nationally, #154 overall prospect in Florida… Participated in inaugural Semper Fi Bowl where he hit game-winning 46-yard field goal for the West Team…Four-time All-State selection, including freshman year as a punter… Four-time Sun Sentinel All-County First Team selection…No. 31 on the 2012 Florida Top 100 by Orlando Sentinel…Miami Herald’s No. 25 top recruit from Broward County…No. 10 ranked prospect in Broward County by Sun Sentinel…Hit 15-of-16 field goals and 63-of-64 PATs while averaging 43.7 yards per punt junior year at Archbishop McCarthy…Holds record for longest field goal at Archbishop McCarthy of 53 yards among other multiple records…Tallied 10-of-12 field goals senior year…Kicked field goals of 44, 45 and school-record 59 yards to lead American Heritage to District 15-5A title…59-yard field goal ties record for longest field goal in the county and was longest in Florida for 2011…Voted MVP junior and senior year…High School Coach: Jeff Dellenbach.

GREG PYKE
OL, 6-6, 315
Baltimore, Md., The Boys’ Latin School
Born: June 4, 1993… High School: The Boys’ Latin School…SuperPrep All-Mid-Atlantic Team…2011 Chesapeake Bowl South Roster… 2011 Consensus All-State Football Team…2011 All-MIAA Football Team (B Conference)… 2011 Maryland Crab Bowl All Star Game… 2011 All-Metro First Team Offense…Scout.com three-star prospect, #41 offensive line position player nationally… Rivals.com three-star recruit, #25 offensive guard nationally, #12 overall in Maryland… ESPN.com three-star recruit, #90 offensive line, #16 overall in Maryland… Maxpreps.com #79 overall in Maryland…247sports.com four-star recruit, #23 offensive tackle nationally, #8 overall prospect in Maryland…Has experience at the guard and tackle positions…Highly touted lacrosse recruit…High School Coach: Ritchie Schell.

JONATHAN TAYLOR
DL, 6-4, 315
Millen, Ga.; Jenkins County HS
Born: November 19, 1993…High School Jenkins County…SuperPrep All-America and All-Dixie Teams…Rivals.com four-star prospect, #7 DT nationally, #3 player in Georgia and #72 overall prospect nationally…Scout.com four-star prospect, #9 DT and #76 overall prospect nationally, #4 player in the state…ESPNU four-start prospect, #6 DT nationally, #4 prospect in Georgia, #27 prospect in Southeast Region and #53 overall prospect…24/7sports.com four-star prospect, #63 ranked player nationally, #8 DT nationally, #4 prospect in Georgia and #62 overall prospect nationally…ESPNU 150…PrepStar four-star prospect, #6 DT prospect and Dream Team 150 (#50)…MaxPrep four-and-a-half star prospect, #7 DT prospect and #64 overall prospect…Athlonsports.com consensus #36 overall prospect in the nation…The Sporting News #21 overall prospect nationally…Played in Under Armour All-American Game…Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2011 Georgia’s Super 11 and Class A All-State honorable mention…2011 Super Southeast 120 (#7) by the Mobile (Ala.) Register…MaxPreps.com Lemming Top 100 player and Top 25 DT…High School Coach: Chuck Conley.

JOHN THEUS
OL, 6-6, 292
Jacksonville, Fla., The Bolles School
Born: January 19, 1994…High School: The Bolles School…2011 USA Today All-America first-team offense…Parade Magazine All-America team…2011 Army AllAmerica Team…2011 MaxPreps Top 100…2011 PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team…ESPNU 150….Scout.com five-star prospect, #2 offensive lineman and #7 overall prospect nationally, #1 player in the state…Rivals.com five-star prospect, #5 OT nationally, #3 overall prospect in Florida, #23 overall prospect nationally…ESPNU four-star prospect, #5 OT and #28 overall prospect nationally, #7 ranked player in Florida…247Sports.com four-star prospect, #35 ranked overall player nationally, #3 ranked OT nationally, #5 ranked overall player in the state of Florida…2011 Florida Times-Union Super 11 and Class AAAA All-State first team…Helped lead Bolles to FHSAA state titles in 2009 and 2011, as well as an undefeated regular season and district title in 2010…Competed in shot put and discus on track and field team…High School Coach: Corky Rogers.

BLAKE TIBBS
WR, 6-2, 185
Lithonia, Ga., Martin Luther King, Jr. HS
Born: October 21, 1993… High School: Martin Luther King, Jr. …SuperPrep All-Dixie Team…Class AAAAA All-State Offensive Team… 2011 Georgia Sports Writers Association All-State Class AAAAA First Team Offense… Scout.com three-star recruit, #52 wide receiver nationally, #25 player in the state… Rivals.com three-star recruit, #65 wide receiver, #21 overall in Georgia… ESPN.com three-star recruit, #75 wide receiver, #60 overall in Georgia… Maxpreps.com #47 wide receiver, #13 overall in Georgia… 247sports.com threestar recruit, #57 wide receiver nationally, #29 overall prospect in Georgia…As a junior he caught 60 passes for 1,054 yards and 8 touchdowns… As a senior he caught 63 passes for 1,065 yards and 15 touchdowns… Returned kicks and punts for his team… Led Martin Luther King, Jr. to a 12-1 record in 2011… Head Coach: Michael Carson.

Big Ten pulls plug on fall football amid COVID-19 concerns

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The Big Ten won’t play football this fall because of concerns about COVID-19, becoming the first of college sports’ power conferences to yield to the pandemic.

The move announced Tuesday comes six day after the conference that includes historic programs such as Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State had released a revised conference-only schedule that it hoped would help it navigate a fall season with potential COVID-19 disruptions.

But it was not a surprise. Speculation has run rampant for several days that the Big Ten was moving toward this decision. On Monday, coaches throughout the conference tried to push back the tide, publicly pleading for more time and threatening to look elsewhere for games this fall.

“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,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “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.”

The Big Ten touts itself as the oldest college athletic conference in the country, dating back to 1896 when it was called the Western Conference, and its schools have been playing football ever since. It became the Big Ten in 1918 and grew into a football powerhouse.

The 14 Big Ten schools span from Maryland and Rutgers on the East Coast to Iowa and Nebraska out west. Not only has it been one of the most successful conferences on the field but off the field it has become one of the wealthiest.

The Big Ten, with its lucrative television network, distributes about $50 million per year to its members.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge

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President Donald Trump joined a U.S. senator and a number of coaches Monday in the push to save the college football season from a pandemic-forced shutdown.

There was speculation that two of the five most powerful conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — might call off their seasons. Farther east, Old Dominion canceled fall sports and became the first school in the Bowl Subdivison to break from its league in doing so; the rest of Conference USA was going forward with plans to play.

A Big Ten spokesman said no votes had been taken by its presidents and chancellors on fall sports as of Monday afternoon and the powerful Southeastern Conference made clear it was not yet ready to shutter its fall season.

“Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day,’” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey posted on Twitter. ”Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”

A growing number of athletes have spoken out about saving the season with Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence among the group posting their thoughts on Twitter with the hashtag #WeWantToPla. Trump threw his support behind them Monday.

“The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled,” he tweeted.

Old Dominion has stopped trying. The Virginia school canceled football and other fall sports less than a week after Conference USA set out a plan to play a football season.

“We concluded that the season – including travel and competition – posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” ODU President Broderick said.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took a different stand, saying the Wolverines have shown players can be safe after they return to school.

“I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13,” he wrote. “I am advocating on August 10 that this virus can be controlled and handled because of these facts.”

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, picked up on the safer-with-football theme in a letter to the presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten.

“Life is about tradeoffs. There are no guarantees that college football will be completely safe — that’s absolutely true; it’s always true,” he wrote. “But the structure and discipline of football programs is very likely safer than what the lived experience of 18- to 22-year-olds will be if there isn’t a season.”

“Here’s the reality: Many of you think that football is safer than no football, but you also know that you will be blamed if there is football, whereas you can duck any blame if you cancel football,” added Sasse, a former college president. “This is a moment for leadership. These young men need a season. Please don’t cancel college football.”

Players unite in push to save college season, create union

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Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds saw the tweets from Trevor Lawrence and other college football players pushing for the opportunity to play this season despite the pandemic.

Reynolds, one of the organizers behind a players’ rights movement in the Big Ten, didn’t like the way some on social media seemed to be pitting Lawrence’s message against the efforts of #BigTenUnited and #WeAreUnited.

“There was a lot of division,” Reynolds told AP early Monday morning.

Reynolds got on a call with Lawrence and the star quarterback’s Clemson teammate, Darien Rencher, and within a matter of hours the summer of athlete empowerment found another gear.

College football players from across the country united Sunday in an attempt to save their season and ensure they will no longer be left out of the sport’s biggest decisions.

Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State All-America running back Chuba Hubbard, Alabama running back Najee Harris and numerous other players from Florida State to Oregon posted a graphic on social media with #WeWantToPlay and #WeAreUnited.

“We came to the conclusion, We Want to Play, their message might have been conveyed differently but at the end of the day the message wasn’t too far off from what Big Ten United wanted to promote,” Reynolds said. “Which is we all want to play sports this fall. Every athlete, I’m pretty sure, wants to play their sports. They just want to do so safely.”

The #WeAreUnited hashtag was used a week ago by a group of Pac-12 players in announcing a movement they say has the support of hundreds of peers within their conference. They have threatened mass opt-outs by players if concerns about COVID-19 protocols, racial injustice in college sports and economic rights for athletes are not addressed.

#BigTenUnited arrived on the scene a couple days later, a movement that claimed the backing off 1,000 Big Ten football players. Their demands were more targeted, strictly related to health and safety in dealing with COVID-19.

Sunday night, the call with Reynolds, Rencher and Lawrence led to a Zoom meeting — of course — with some of the Pac-12 players involved in “WeAreUnited.”

Washington State defensive lineman Dallas Hobbs got to work on a graphic and now the movement is officially nationwide.

“Just started bouncing ideas off each others’ heads and kind of discussing where we go from here and we ended up coming up with that statement,” said Reynolds, a senior from South Orange, New Jersey.

Under the logos of each Power Five conference — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — the players pronounced their platform:

— We all want to play football this season.

— Establish universal mandated health & safety procedures and protocols to protect college athletes against COVID-19 among all conferences throughout the NCAA.

— Give players the opportunity to opt out and respect their decision.

— Guarantee eligibility whether a player chooses to play the season or not.

— Use our voices to establish open communication and trust between players and officials: Ultimately create a College Football Players Association.

All of this capped a weekend during which the adults who run college sports seemed to be moving toward shutting it all down because of the pandemic.

A day after the Mid-American Conference became the first of the major college football leagues to cancel the fall season, Power Five conference commissioners met Sunday. They discussed mounting concerns about whether a season can be safely conducted with the pandemic still not under control in the United States.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said no decisions on the season have been made, but conceded the outlook has not improved.

“Are we in a better place today than two weeks, ago? No, we’re not,” he said.

Bowlsby cited “growing evidence and the growing pool of data around myocarditis.”

Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart and it has been found in some COVID-19 patients. There is concern it could be a long-term complication of contracting the virus even in young, healthy people, a group that has usually avoided severe cardiovascular symptoms.

Also Sunday night, the Big Ten’s university presidents and chancellors held a previously unscheduled meeting, a person with knowledge of the meeting told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was not announced by the conference.

Another person with direct knowledge of the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity, said no votes were taken or decisions made about the college football season.

The final call on whether major college football will played this season rests in the hands of the university presidents who oversee the largest conferences.

With doom and gloom hanging over college football, Lawrence, who has become the face of the sport in a summer of strife, tried to push back the tide with a series of tweets.

“People are at just as much, if not more risk, if we don’t play,” Lawrence posted. “Players will all be sent home to their own communities where social distancing is highly unlikely and medical care and expenses will be placed on the families if they were to contract covid19.”

Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth had a similar message, and the parents of Ohio State football players weighed in, too.

Reynolds wants athletes to have a say in the meetings that are deciding the fate of their sports — starting now.

”All college athletes through unifying and not being afraid to speak our minds and having social media to kind of mobilize, I think that box on a Zoom call is something that is pretty attainable,” he said. “Especially, in the near future.”

After MAC surrenders to pandemic, will other leagues follow?

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In many ways, the Mid-American Conference has little in common with Power Five leagues that first come to mind when fans think of major college football.

There are no 75,000-seat stadiums in the MAC. Million-dollar per year coaches are rare. In a typical season, NFL scouts might find one or two potential first-round draft picks playing at the 12 MAC schools that dot the Midwest. The MAC’s biggest games — #MACtion, if you will — are often played on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Its television deal with ESPN pays per year only a few million more than the $9 million Clemson pays coach Dabo Swinney.

Still, the MAC is one of 10 conferences that competes in the NCAA’s highest level of football, and Saturday it became the first of those to surrender to the coronavirus pandemic and cancel the fall sports season.

So is the MAC an anomaly, done in by its small budgets or is this a dire sign of things to come in college football?

“I won’t try to judge what other folks are doing,” MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said. “I know we’re all in the same place. They all have their advisers. They’re going to make judgments based on the information they are receiving.”

Not long after the MAC announced it would explore second-semester seasons for all fall sports, including soccer and volleyball, the Big Ten made its own announcement that seemed ominous given the timing.

Tapping the brakes on football’s preseason, the Big Ten told its schools that until further notice full contact practices cannot begin. All teams will remain in the first two days of what is known as the “acclimatization period,” working out in just helmets. The first Big Ten games of the season are scheduled for Sept. 5.

“As we have consistently stated, we will continue to evaluate daily, while relying on our medical experts, to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes,” the Big Ten said in a statement.

The MAC’s schools were facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly COVID-19 protocols, while also dealing with the uncertainty that campuses can be opened safely.

A move to the spring, however, could also be budget-buster if it means less revenue from the ESPN deal, which pays each school about $1 million per year, and football ticket sales. The MAC also shares about $90 million per year in College Football Playoff money with four other conferences.

“It would be naive to say that you don’t give thought and consideration to what the financial ramifications of any decision are, but this was a health and well-being decision first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “As we sit here today we don’t know what this will mean financially and how the rest of the fall plays out.”

Steinbrecher said the decision effects only fall sports, not basketball or others that begin in the second semester such as baseball, softball and lacrosse.

He added the decision was unanimous among the membership. Northern Illinois athletic director Sean Frazier, supported by NIU President Lisa Freeman, has been a vocal advocate of delaying the season.

“No one wants to have football or sports more than me,” said Frazier, who played football at Alabama in the late 1980s. “Football gave me all the opportunities I have today, but I can’t do it at the expense of people’s lives.”

Eastern Michigan athletic director Scott Wetherbee said he has been feeling a sense of inevitability for two weeks about the MAC canceling fall football, but can’t predict whether this decision trickles up to other conferences.

“Could it? Certainly. There’s certainly a narrative out there that could happen,” Wetherbee said. “No, it wouldn’t shock me if some followed suit. In fact, it would shock me if some didn’t.”

NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline made clear that even though plans for the football season have been adjusted to accommodate potential COVID-19 disruptions like the ones Major League Baseball has had, they are all still aspirational.

“Almost everything would have to be perfectly aligned to continue moving forward,” Hainline said Friday during the NCAA’s weekly video chat on social media.

As the Power Five conferences re-worked their schedules to play exclusively or mostly within their conferences, another of the MAC’s revenue streams dried up.

MAC schools, with athletic budgets in the $30 million range, rely heavily on payouts from road games against power conference teams. Kent State alone had more than $5 million in so-called guarantee games canceled. Whether they can be recouped and when is still to be determined. Without that revenue, the strain became too great of trying to keep players and staff safe during a pandemic.

“Certainly there was a cost attached to it,” Wetherbee said. “But as a league we were prepared to do it.”

The move to try spring football has already been going on in the second tier of Division I.

Nine of 13 conferences that play in the Championship Subdivision, have postponed fall football seasons. The first was the Ivy League in early July.

Now it’s the MAC, which was among the first conferences to limit fan access to its basketball tournament in March as concerns for the virus began to soar across the country. On March 12, the MAC was among many conferences to call off their tournaments hours before the NCAA canceled all of March Madness.

“If you told me in March we’d be here today,” Steinbrecher said, “I’d never have believed it”