Big Ten announces postponement of all fall sports, aims to resume play in the spring


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Ryan Field. The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday it will postpone its fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ella Brockway, Reporter

The Big Ten Conference announced Tuesday that it will postpone its fall sports season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with hopes to resume competition in the spring.

“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,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement.

The decision was made by the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, which is headed by Northwestern President Morton Schapiro.

“Our entire Northwestern community is heartbroken by the necessary decision made today by the Big Ten Conference, even as we stand in full confidence we are making the right decision,” athletic director Jim Phillips wrote in a statement released Tuesday night. “After countless conversations with medical experts across the Conference and the country, the overwhelming evidence indicates there are too many unknowns for us to safely and confidently move forward with fall competition at this time.”

Phillips’ statement also noted that Northwestern will remain committed to athletes’ “scholarships, housing, performance, medical, mental health, academic and professional development support.”

The announcement came less than a week after the conference released its schedule for the 2020 football season, and amid a recent wave of highly-publicized player-led movements calling for conference and university leaders to institute stronger health and safety protocols, and find a way to play the season.

The Big Ten was the first of the Power Five conferences to postpone its fall sports season. The Pac-12 announced the postponement of its season shortly after the Big Ten, while the other three major conferences reportedly remain uncommitted to a decision.

In an interview on the Big Ten Network after the statement was released, Warren said conference leaders “believed collectively that there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to encourage our student-athletes to participate in fall sports.”

This is a developing story and will be updated when more information becomes available.

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