Big Ten to Play Conference Games Only; Big 12 Undecided

Our pets heads are falling off.

I don’t have time for a normal Morning Skate so let’s just roll with it. The Athletic’s Nichole Auerbach was the first to report that the Big Ten would go to a conference schedule only. And the Big Ten would eventually release a statement:

To that end, the Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports (men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball) based on medical advice, it will move to Conference-only schedules in those sports. Details for these sports will be released at a later date, while decisions on sports not listed above will continue to be evaluated. By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.

SI’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger are reporting that the SEC will not meet until Monday and that they haven’t made a decision regarding the fall season.

Dallas News’ Chuck Carlton reports that no indication was given that by the Big Ten commissioner that they would move in this direction:

“It backs everybody else into a corner,” one FBS athletic director said. “It puts everyone in a bad position.”

For now, the Big 12 doesn’t plan any move to a conference-only schedule, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a phone interview. The league was surprised by the Big Ten’s announcement. Bowlsby said he was on an hour-long conference call Thursday morning with new Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.

“He never gave us any indication at all that they were going forward with this,” Bowlsby said. “I believe it’s early to make that sort of a decision, but perhaps they have a different perspective.”

I actually agree with Bowlsby here:

“We’ve been advised to go slow and constantly re-evaluate what we’re doing and move ahead as long as scientists and medical personnel are telling us it’s safe to do,” Bowlsby said.

I get the idea to make a decision, but I’m not so sure that a decision now was necessary.

The biggest issues with the Big Ten hauling off and making this decision is that if affects so many smaller schools, but without fans, the Big Ten probably decided that they didn’t want to have to make those payoffs. Lots of these small schools receive a few hundred thousand to a million or so dollars to come play at your stadium and that’s how most of those smaller budgets are created for small schools. Now, those small schools could be sunk. The Pac-12 has not yet made a decision, but are expected to follow the Big Ten. That would affect Texas Tech because Texas Tech has Arizona at home this year.

Horns 24/7’s Chip Brown has additional details as well, including that the Big 12 and SEC are not ready to make a decision just yet:

But multiple officials in the Big 12 told Horns247 the presidents and chancellors in the Big 12 don’t feel the need to follow the Big Ten’s lead at this point.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told The Dallas Morning News he spoke with Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren Thursday morning, and Warren gave no indication of a conference-only football schedule announcement.

“I believe it’s early to make that sort of a decision,” Bowlsby told the Dallas Morning News. “But perhaps they have a different perspective.”

“It’s premature,” one Big 12 source said. “We have 60 days to see where things are.”

A second Big 12 source said, “We need to have patience and a cautious approach. Continue to be nimble, and hopefully gain more education related to the virus.”

“Perception can sway this without a doubt,” a third Big 12 source said. “But all our schools have worked hard to come up with plans to ensure the safety of our student-athletes and staff and feel like there’s more time before a decision like that needs to be made.”

A fourth Big 12 source told Horns247, “You’re not hearing anything like that coming out of the Big 12 or SEC.”

I hate to be optimistic. In fact, it is foolish to be optimistic at this point, but I am definitely in the camp to wait as long as possible and I’m in favor of how the Big 12 and the SEC have responded in terms of how they are handling the situation. I get the idea of canceling games against FBS teams, but not all other teams.

TLDR; the Big Ten and possibly the Pac-12 are set to go conference teams only, while the Big 12 and SEC have not made that decision.


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