Getty Images

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

10 Comments

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.

Report: 2020 Michigan-Ohio State game will ‘probably’ be moved to Sept. or Oct.

Michigan-Ohio State
Getty Images
2 Comments

If the Big Ten plays football this fall — whispers suggest the conference is bracing members for no season — the annual Michigan-Ohio State could very well have a decidedly different feel to it.  Temperature-wise in particular.

Every year for nearly eight decades, you could set your watch to the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry grudge match. When The Game was on, you knew it was November and the last game of the regular season.  However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bill Rabinowitz of Columbus Dispatch is reporting that this year’s matchup will probably be played earlier in the season “as a hedge against the COVID-19 pandemic causing a cancellation in late November.”

From the Dispatch:

If the game is scheduled in September or October and the coronavirus situation forces a postponement, it could then played at a later date.

The source stressed that no final decisions about scheduling have been made, and that the situation is fluid, but that moving the game is the most likely scenario at this point.

If that happens, it is unlikely that Ohio State would play Michigan in the season opener.

The last time Michigan and Ohio State didn’t end the regular season against one another?  Way back in 1942.

July 9, the Big Ten announced that it will be going to a conference-only schedule for the 2020 college football season.  It’s expected that the conference will announce its schedule at some point in early August.

In a letter sent to membership Thursday, elevenwarriors.com reported, the conference stressed that, if it feels fall sports, including football, can’t be safely contested, they could still be canceled.

“If we determine as a Conference that it is not prudent to compete in the fall of 2020, we will not do so, much like our decision in March 2020 to cancel the Men’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis,” the letter states. “Our final decision will be rooted in guidance from medical experts and in consultation with institutional leadership, student-athletes, coaches and appropriate federal, state, and local authorities.”

College Football amidst Coronavirus Pandemic: On this day in CFT history, including a reputed gambler (Tay Bang!) reportedly giving Florida Gator football players discounts on rental cars

college football
Getty Images
1 Comment

The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 31, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2018

THE HEADLINE: Reputed gambler reportedly gave Florida Gator football players discounts on rental cars
THE SYNOPSIS: This bizarre situation involved the gambler, nicknamed “Tay Bang,” who was also an employee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  No NCAA issues arose from the allegations.

2017

THE HEADLINE: UCF K Donald De La Haye leaves team after refusing to demonetize YouTube channel
THE SYNOPSIS: Kudos, NCAA!  You continue to rock!!! In the coming months, what De La Haye should’ve been allowed to then will be permissible.

2016

THE HEADLINE: BAC for arrested Alabama OL Alphonse Taylor was a Blutarsky
THE SYNOPSIS: The reason this headline is included? It allows me to post this classic scene, of course.

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” “Mr. Blutarsky.  Zero.  Point.  Zero.

2015

THE HEADLINE: New Big Ten scheduling mandates Power 5 opponents, no FCS foes
THE SYNOPSIS: The move was made to strengthen the conference’s strength of schedule when it came to the College Football Playoff.  The Power Five requirement brought the B1G in-line with the ACC and SEC.

2015

THE HEADLINE: No name games for Jim Harbaugh. Ohio State is “Ohio State” for Michigan coach
THE SYNOPSIS: This came on the heels of Brady Hoke annoyingly referring to its rival as “Ohio.” He is, though, the last Wolverines head coach to beat the Buckeyes. So he’s got that going for him.  Which is nice.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Kirk Ferentz says 10-game conference schedules are coming
THE SYNOPSIS: Nine games?  Yep.  10 games? Nope.  Not yet.  And likely never.

2012

THE HEADLINE: As expected, Silas Redd transferring to USC
THE SYNOPSIS: The running back was the first big-name player to flee the Nittany Lions in the wake of historic NCAA sanctions.

2009

THE HEADLINE: 30-day suspension for slurring Hawaii coach
THE SYNOPSIS: Greg McMackin drew a suspension for directing a homosexual slur at a Notre Dame bowl dance.  Yes, you read that correctly.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Michigan AD proclaiming Brady Hoke wasn’t on the hot seat less than five months before Hoke was fired

college football
Getty Images
1 Comment

The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 28, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: No longer enrolled at Alabama, could Eyabi Anoma be in play for Maryland?
THE SYNOPSIS: In the end, the answer was no.  The five-star 2018 linebacker ultimately transferred to Houston.  In February of this year, however, Anoma was dismissed by UH for violating unspecified team rules. Last month, he announced he was transferring to FCS Tennessee-Martin.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Coastal Carolina head coach Joe Moglia will miss 2017 season to recover from health issues
THE SYNOPSIS: In January of 2019, Moglia stepped down as head coach.  He still, though, maintains “executive authority” over the Chanticleers football program.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Ex-Alabama LB Christian Bell announces transfer to Wisconsin
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly four years later, Bell moved on from Wisconsin to Illinois.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Frank Beamer wants Hokies to stay in-house for a successor
THE SYNOPSIS: That would’ve likely meant long-time defensive coordinator Bud Foster.  Or even Beamer’s then-assistant — and son  — Shane Beamer.  In the end, it was Justin Fuente who replaced Beamer after he retired following the 2015 season.   Foster stayed on for another four seasons before his own retirement.  Shane Beamer, meanwhile, joined the Georgia coaching staff for the 2016 season.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Michigan AD says Brady Hoke isn’t on hot seat
THE SYNOPSIS: Hoke was fired less than five months later.  In four seasons with the Wolverines, Hoke went 31-20 overall and 18-14 in Big Ten play.  After winning 11 games his first season in Ann Arbor, Hoke won nine, seven and five games the last three.  In January, he was named as the head coach at San Diego State.  For the second time.

2010

THE HEADLINE: 1986 Miami Hurricanes top most-hated list
THE SYNOPSIS: This is for all of sports.  Not just college football, mind you.  Another Miami squad, the 1990 version, came in at No. 11 of the SI.com Top 25.  Others from college football included USC’s 2005 team (15th) and Notre Dame’s 1993 squad (17th).

2009

THE HEADLINE: Another ‘Nippany’ Lion popped for DUI
THE SYNOPSIS: Get it?  See what we did there?

NC State DE who committed to West Virginia instead transfers to Maryland

Maryland football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

For Maryland football, this was a fortuitous turn of events.  For West Virginia?  Not so much.

Way back in January, Joseph Boletepeli took the first step in leaving NC State by entering the NCAA transfer database.  Nearly five full months later, the defensive lineman announced his commitment to West Virginia football.

That was mid-June, though.  A month later, Boletepeli is now listed on the official online roster for Maryland football.  What happened between committing to the Mountaineers in June and signing with the Terrapins in July is unclear.  Although, the tumult surrounding the WVU defensive coordinator could’ve played a role on some level.

It was expected that Boletepeli would have to sit out the 2020 season.  However, it’s believed he will be granted an immediate-eligibility waiver.  Including this season, Boletepeli would then have three years of eligibility to use with the Terps.

A three-star member of the Class of 2018 for NC State football, Boletepeli was rated as the No. 27 player regardless of position in the state of North Carolina.  During his two seasons with the Wolfpack, Boletepeli played in seven games.  Four of those appearances came this past season.

Boletepeli started the first two games of his true freshman campaign.  This past season, Boletepeli was a No. 2 defensive end who ultimately dropped further down on the depth chart.

Interestingly, Boletepeli is the second transfer connected to both the Maryland and West Virginia football programs.  In mid-May, Bryce Brand committed to WVU.  The defensive end had announced in January he intended to transfer from Maryland.