Though there were expectations over the weekend that the Big Ten and Pac-12 would cancel their respective fall 2020 college football seasons this week, the conferences said Monday they have yet to come to any decisions. Both conferences have separate meetings scheduled for Tuesday that are expected to include formal votes about how to move forward.
Power Five commissioners met on Sunday to discuss the viability of playing the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sources told CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd that the meeting was previously scheduled with the commissioners set to meet again Monday. It is not known whether that Monday meeting took place nor what specific discussions may have been held.
However, on Tuesday, it is expected that presidents and chancellors from the Big Ten and Pac-12 will meet with their respective conferences to vote on whether to cancel the 2020 college football season and possibly attempt to play in spring 2021. The conferences could also choose to delay their seasons or take no action and proceed as scheduled.
The ACC “absolutely” intends to play this fall, according to Dodd, while SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has called for patience in noting that his conference has been diligently making decisions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The SEC has given no indication it has plans to cancel its season. The Big 12 is reportedly divided on whether to play, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Big Ten will be the first conference to meet Tuesday morning, likely followed by the Pac-12 and Big 12.
The Detroit Free Press and radio host Dan Patrick reported Monday that the Big Ten has all but decided not to move forward with playing college sports of any kind this fall. Though Patrick reported on his show that the Big Ten held a vote with league presidents opting by a 12-2 margin to not play this fall (Nebraska and Iowa were reportedly the dissenters), a formal vote was not taken, according to Dodd.
Big Ten coaches including Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Penn State’s James Franklin and Nebraska’s Scott Frost have publicly advocated for playing the 2020 season. The Pac-12’s coaches and athletic directors met with athletic director Larry Scott on Monday night, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman.
Sentiment throughout college football entering Sunday night was that the Big Ten and Pac-12 would indeed cancel their seasons this week. However, the combination of outspoken coaches and the the #WeWantToPlay X #WeAreUnited movement that developed suddenly late Sunday may have had an impact on decision makers, primarily the university presidents.
For weeks, it was believed that if any Power Five conference decided to punt first on playing college football in the fall, it would be the Big Ten. After all, this was the conference that announced over a month ago it was moving to a conference-only schedule for the fall.
The Big Ten became the first conference to make such an adjustment in a move that blindsided their Power Five brethren. However, in short order, the other conferences ultimately made similar moves albeit with varied configurations and projected start dates.
Though cancellations have been taking place at all levels of college football, only recently did they affect the 130-team FBS. UConn was the first FBS team to call curtains on a fall 2020 season, while the MAC was the first FBS conference to call off playing fall sports. Old Dominion on Monday became the first individual member of an FBS conference (Conference USA) to cancel its season, while the Mountain West joined the MAC as the second FBS conference to punt on playing this season.