The likelihood of a normal college football season, let alone one at all, decreases with each passing day amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
One day after the Ivy League informed member schools that no fall sports will occur until at least after the new year, the Big Ten announced in a statement it is moving to a conference-only schedule for college football and other fall sports:
"The Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. 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."
The Big Ten also added that member institutions will honor the scholarships of student-athletes who decide not to participate in their respective sports this season due to coronavirus-related concerns.
The decision is meant to decrease travel times and, potentially, needs for lengthy hotel stays. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that some NFL teams were considering game-day travel to limit exposure to non-club personnel.
The Big Ten's announcement came less than 24 hours after both North Carolina and Ohio State halted voluntary workout programs due to coronavirus outbreaks among student-athletes, coaches and staff members.
Also on Thursday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and ESPN insider Paul Finebaum both suggested it's no longer realistic to expect college football for the fall term.
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