Conference officials said the decision was made after consultations with medical experts, including the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee. Postponed sports include football, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s cross country and field hockey.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “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.”
The Big Ten said it will “continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring.” Officials have yet to determine whether the conference’s winter and spring sports seasons will take place as scheduled.
The Big Ten is one of the NCAA’s “Power Five” conferences. Its member schools include several college football powerhouses, including the University of Michigan, Penn State University and Ohio State University.
It’s unclear if Big Ten schools that disagree with the postponement will be permitted to pursue other options, such as breaking away from the conference and forming an alternative schedule with other programs. University of Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said the school had “options” if football season was canceled.
In a statement, Nebraska said it was “very disappointed” with the Big Ten’s decision.
“Safety comes first. Based on the conversations with our medical experts, we continue to strongly believe the absolute safest place for our student-athletes is within the rigorous safety protocols, testing procedures, and the structure and support provided by Husker Athletics,” the school said. “We will continue to consult with medical experts and evaluate the situation as it emerges. We hope it may be possible for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to compete.”
Officials from the Power Five conferences held an emergency meeting earlier this week regarding the fall sports seasons. Pac-12 commissioners are expected to vote on whether their fall sports will move forward by as soon as Tuesday.
The possibility of a postponed or canceled season drew a mixed response this week, with several prominent college football players and head coaches arguing the season should occur as scheduled. Ohio State University head coach Ryan Day and Penn State University head coach James Franklin each spoke out in favor of a season.
Earlier Tuesday, President Trump said it would be a “tragic mistake” if the college football season was canceled.