Big Ten postpones college football season, hopes to play in spring

All fall sports postponed

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Charlie Neibergall, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Presidents at Big Ten schools have voted to postpone the college football season in hopes that it can be played in the spring, league announced Tuesday.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.

The postponement includes all fall sports seasons and tournaments, Big Ten officials said.

On Monday, there were reports that the majority of the Big Ten voted against having a fall football season amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Monday’s rumblings sparked a national campaign from players, coaches and parents advocating for the season to continue. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was among the most outspoken, saying, “We will not cower” from the virus and expressing confidence in the program’s safety protocols.

“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. “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.

This news that the season will be postponed comes just days after the Big Ten released a modified, 10-game schedule for the 2020 season.

Here is a statement from Harbaugh:

Our student-athletes and coaches want to compete. They have committed, trained and prepared their entire lives for this opportunity, and I know how much they’re disappointed at this time. I share in their disappointment today.

“We have shown over the weeks since returning to campus that we could meet the challenge and provide our student-athletes the opportunity of a fall football season.

“Our football team, our coaching staff, our support staff in Schembechler Hall have all stepped up, followed every rule, and done everything in their power magnificently to give all the opportunity to compete. I am extremely proud, thankful and appreciative of our team and how they have conducted and represented our program and university.”

Last week, the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS league to cancel football.

The MAC is among the leagues hoping to play some semblance of a season in the spring, depending on the state of the pandemic. More details about that possible plan would likely come out closer to the start of the season.

Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association have all resume play, with the NHL and NBA doing so in a bubble. Both bubble leagues have had great success preventing COVID-19 cases, while MLB has seen a few outbreaks, most notably with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.