Well, there it is.
After much deliberation, the Big Ten has decided to postpone all fall sports, including football, and attempt to play in the spring. Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren made the decision official on Tuesday afternoon.
“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.”
This announcement comes a day after the Big Ten denied a report saying there was a vote within the conference by the presidents and chancellors of the schools. Just 24 hours later, here we are. The Big Ten has been ahead of the game throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They were the first Power Five conference to announce the cancellation of their spring sports. The Big Ten also led the charge by saying they would only play a conference schedule in the fall. Up until this point, the other conferences have been following their lead. It is unknown whether they will this time around. The PAC-12 has always seemed to agree with the Big Ten on postponing the fall season. The SEC and ACC are interested in finding a way to play sports in the fall.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
For Rutgers, this decision should be no surprise. They know firsthand how quickly the virus can spread. On July 25, the team shut down workouts and quarantined after six players tested positive. Just a few days later, the count grew to 15. On August 3, the count was up to 28 players and multiple staff members. Eight days later, and just six after the Big Ten schedule was released, the conference has decided to postpone the season.
Rutgers was one of six Big Ten programs to pause practices. The Scarlet Knights never began fall practices. The anticipated return of Greg Schiano on the sidelines in New Brunswick will have to wait, and hopefully not wait too long.
“While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point,” Warren said. “Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
To read Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs’ statement on the decision, click here.