DALLAS (News Nation) — The Big Ten conference is the first of the Power 5 to cancel not only fall football, but the entire fall sports season.
The conference announced the “postponement” of the 2020-2021 fall season, citing ongoing health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. 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.”
Sports included in the announcement are:
- Men’s and women’s cross country
- field hockey,
- men’s and women’s soccer,
- and women’s volleyball.
The conference said the decision was based on multiple factors and relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference,” Warren said. “Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The announcement says the conference continues to evaluate options regarding thje sports, including a possible spring competition. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports are still being evaluated.