Big Ten Conference Moving To ‘Conference Only’ Schedule

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The Big Ten Conference announced it will go to a conference-only season for all fall sports. The announcement was made on Thursday to address COVID-19 safety measures for fall athletics. 

Big Ten Statement

“We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority,” the Big Ten said in a statement. “By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions, in real-time, based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”

Optimistic Announcement From The Big Ten 

The support for a 10 conference schedule was overwhelming with the coaches in the league. Limited and controlled travel along with an added importance placed on conference were highlighted of note. While the coaches like the idea of there being football, some Big Ten officials didn’t sound convinced. Friday, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said, “We’re also prepared not to play should the circumstances so dictate.” The conference also pledged to continue to follow the advice of medical experts.

What The Other Conferences Are Doing 

The Big Ten is the first conference to implement a system like this. The news comes on the heels of The Ivy League ruling out all fall sports for 2020. The ACC already announced they will delay fall sports until at least September 1st. Both the SEC and Big 12 conferences released statements saying they are still in the planning stages. 

In an interview with ESPN the SEC athletic director commented, “We will talk concepts, just like we have since the beginning, and those concepts have to be more serious given the shifting landscape. But everything remains fluid, and no one believes right now that we have to shorten the season to only league games like the Big Ten did.”

Guessing Game

The situation remains fluid. Nobody really knows what the landscape will look like in two months time. Looking back two months, the fight against the virus looked positive. Now with the rise in cases, there is a new wave of concern. Conferences are putting measures in place, but they all know that a plan B, C and D may be required. There is only one thing for certain with COVID-19 crisis. It is that nothing is for certain.