There may finally be some clarity surrounding college football.
After a meeting on Tuesday morning, Big Ten Presidents and Chancellors voted to postpone fall sports.
“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.”
Men’s and women’s soccer and cross country, field hockey, volleyball and football will all be affected by the decision.
The unprecedented move comes in times dominated by confusion. The decision was made a day after the Big Ten refuted multiple reports that the college Presidents of the conference voted to cancel fall athletics over the weekend.
The decision to cancel contradicts the wishes of its players and coaches, who took to Twitter Sunday to tweet support for playing football. Jim Harbaugh on Monday released a statement in support of playing football, saying his program has been able to limit the spread of COVID-19. Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Nebraska will explore every option to play football, even if the Big Ten votes to cancel.
The delay gives both America and colleges time to contain the spread of the virus and adjust to the return of students, one of the biggest hurdles that still faces colleges trying to return safely and educate its students. In order for there to be sports, first the student population on campus must be healthy and the Big Ten needs to know the impact that students have on the numbers of COVID-19 cases.
“While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families,” Warren said, “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.”
Time, right now, is all the Big Ten has that can make the possibility of any sports a reality, something that schools across the country have been trying to get more of throughout the summer as the decision has been delayed time and time again.
For now, though, the Big Ten has said nothing about how long the postponment will be, whether it is a month or a semester or a full-on cancellation.