The Big Ten toppled the first significant domino earlier in the day. Now, two of the most powerful men in the conference are expounding on the development. And, if you’re a fan of the sport, you might want to close your eyes when reading the next few paragraphs. Or take several shots of an adult beverage before proceeding.
Thursday afternoon, the Big Ten confirmed reports that it will be going with a conference-only football schedule for the 2020 season. All other fall sports are impacted in the same way.
In television appearances following the announcement, the B1G’s commissioner didn’t put a positive spin on football’s immediate future.
“One thing we have to realize is that this is not a fait accompli that we’re going to have sports in the fall,” Kevin Warren flatly stated. “We may not have sports in the fall, we may not have a college football season in the Big Ten. …
“We made a vow early on that, first and foremost, we would put the health, the safety and the wellness of our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions.
Gene Smith was equally pessimistic.
“I can’t reiterate enough the fact that we might not play,” the Ohio State athletic director said in discussing football in 2020. “We just might not, and I think people need to understand that.”
It’s expected that other Power Five conferences will follow the lead of the Big Ten. In the coming days, both the ACC and Pac-12 will most likely announce a conference-only football schedule. The lone exception will be the ACC including Notre Dame, which already has six games against the conference on its 2020 slate, in any revamped schedule.
The Big 12 and SEC are widely expected to kick the scheduling can down the road a bit longer, perhaps as late as the end of July. In the end, however, both of those Power Fives are likely to come to the same scheduling conclusion.