The 14-team league said it hopes to play these postponed fall sports in the spring, if the nation’s struggle against the coronavirus is in a better place.
“I’ve said it from the first day that I started at the Big Ten, that the health, the safety, the wellness — both physical and mental — for our student-athletes was going to be at the top of my list,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren told the Big Ten Network minutes after the announcement.
“The Big Ten will always put the the mental and physical health and safety and wellness of our student-athletes at the center.”
By calling off all fall sports, it means prominent football teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin will be sidelined from their traditional seasons.
And more significantly, the Big Ten’s action pushed college football closer to a total fall shutdown.
Within college’s football top tier, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the Big Ten is among the Power 5 leagues which dominate the sport.
The Pacific-12 and Southeastern Conferences had already cancelled all non-league games while the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences have pared back their schedules to a more regional slates of contests.
Before the Big Ten action, President Donald Trump decried the possible cancellation of college football this fall.
“I think (college) football’s making a tragic mistake,” Trump told Fox Sports Radio’s “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis” on Tuesday.
“It’s brilliant, football. It’s great football. It’s the atmosphere, there’s nothing like it. And you can’t have empty seats.”
He argued — without providing evidence — that college football players, elite athletes in their late teens and early 20s, are at low risk to coronavirus.
“These people are so powerful and so strong and not lots of body fat … and they’re very healthy people,” Trump said.
“People don’t realize, it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with (a) bad heart, diabetes, some kind of physical problem.”
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost, whose Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011, on Monday floated the possibility of his team’s joining another conference to play just for this fall season.
“We want to play no matter who it is or where it is,” Frost said Monday. “We certainly hope it’s in the Big Ten. If it isn’t, I think we’re prepared to look for other options.”
“If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done,” according to Harbaugh.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, an alumnus of both Wisconsin and Ohio State, bristled Monday at the notion college football might be over for 2020.
“America needs college football,” tweeted Jordan, a standout Badgers grappler and former assistant wrestling coach at OSU.
As the coronavirus continues to plague America, 2020 college football has been winding down.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) on Saturday became the first FBS league to cancel the upcoming season. Days earlier, the independent University of Connecticut announced it won’t play football this fall.
Playoffs for the NCAA’s three lower levels of football — the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III — were cancelled last week, raising further doubts there will be fall gridiron play.
This is a developing story, please refresh here for updates
Gemma DiCasimirro contributed.