Could the Big Ten still manage to pull together a football season this fall?

by Blake Landa

August, 2020, in the world of the Big Ten, was filled with a whole semester’s worth of drama when it came to trying to decide what fall sports were going to look like.  The beginning of the month was decidedly more hopeful than the end, seeing a revised football schedule being released on August 5th.  This schedule unveiled that the Big Ten decided to get rid of all non-conference games, turning the season from 12 games to 10 while only playing against the conference.  The Big Ten was careful in their announcement, noting that even though this new, revised schedule was released that did not mean that this fall season was 100% a go.  They sure did cover all their bases with that statement because only 6 days later the Big Ten announced that it was going to postpone all 2020 fall sports.  

The Big Ten was the first conference of the “Power Five Conferences” to announce that they would be postponing their fall, with the Pac-12 quickly following suit to announce their own postponements.  With two of the Power Five conferences postponing their fall seasons, eyes were drawn to the remaining three conferences, the ACC, SEC, and Big 12, to see what their plan would be for the upcoming season.  As of this writing today, all three of these leagues are pushing forward and plan to play this fall with the ACC and Big 12 starting on September 12th and the SEC starting on September 26th.       

Did the Big Ten decide to postpone their season too early?  On August 19th, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren penned “An Open Letter to the Big Ten Community” which outlined the reasons for the postponement of the 2020 football season as well as all the other fall sports.  Included in this letter was a statement saying that this decision “will not be revisited”.  Well, it now appears that this final decision may indeed be revisited.  

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on August 28th that the Big Ten is now thinking about trying to salvage the fall football season as early as Thanksgiving weekend.  The original plan that was being worked on was for the conference to play an eight-game season beginning in January, with all of the games being moved to indoor facilities.  This may not be the case anymore, though, with more plans being discussed by athletic directors and coaches throughout the conference.  The Columbus Dispatch got in contact with Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith who confirmed that “multiple plans are and have been discussed”.

The latest news is that a Big Ten vote could occur as early as Friday, September 4th, about beginning the football season at the earliest date of October 10th and the latest date of Thanksgiving weekend.  It looks like the Big Ten will continue to play the waiting game until further information is released.  It was a wild ride this August but this reporter is hoping to have more concrete plans emerge for September.

By Blake Landa