Big 10 conference cancels football season; possibly
Editor’s note: As of press time, the decision to cancel is still up in the air. Announcements stated the outcome of the votes should be announced by the afternoon of August 11. This is a fluid situation, be sure stick with The Madill Record for updates.
In an unprecedented move, the Big 10 Conference voted to cancel the 2020 college football season on August 9, some sources have said. The decision is a direct result of concerns over the continuous COVID-19 pandemic. Even though officials are still tightlipped about the outcome of the vote, the Free Press had multiple people close to the situation confirm the decision.
According to the Free Press, the sources wished to remain anonymous because they were not yet authorized to spill the beans. A formal announcement is expected Tuesday.
The Big 10 college presidents voted 12-2 to end all fall sports in the Sunday gathering. Michigan and Michigan State both pushed for the cancellation. It could possibly be because both schools have physicians for presidents.
According to Dan Patrick, a sports radio host, stated in his radio show on Monday that only Nebraska and Iowa voted against the cancellation.
The cancellation of fall football comes swiftly on the heels of the Mid-American Conference’s announcement on August 8; they cancelled all fall sports for 2020. This is the first time the Mid-American Conference has canceled a football season since the inauguration of the league in 1946. That makes 74 years that MAC has played football no matter what; nothing has stopped the football season. Let that sink in.
This decision for cancellation comes a mere week after Big 10 unveiled their updated 10-game conference-only schedule for 2020, and only days after the teams opened their fall camps.
Many players across the nation are opting out of the game due to concerns over long-lasting health impacts from the virus. Sources say four Michigan State players opted out and others were expected to follow.
Some players decided not to play the 2020 season for personal reasons. MSU linebacker, Marcel Lewis lost a family member to the virus, and offensive tackle Justin Stevens said he has a respiratory issue that could make him more susceptible.
There are some players that unfortunately became up close and personal to the virus. Indiana University offensive lineman Brady Feeney was one of six players who tested positive mid-July, pausing voluntary football workouts. Feeney, who is having lingering heart issues due to COVID-19 is urging schools and players to not take the virus lightly and “to listen to our medical experts.””Covid-19 is serious,” Brady Feeney tweeted. “I never thought that I would have serious health complications from this virus, but look at what happened.”
A doctor steeped in college football warned about continuing with the 2020 season.
“When we were trying to think about ways to make it safe, we were at a time when there was kind of more control of the virus, and you’ve got less control of the virus now than we had several months earlier during when the stay at home orders were just starting to be lifted,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and one of the scholars advising the NCAA said in an interview. “And then the other thing that’s made it what made it much more difficult is football is a contact sport, which is going to require some amount of testing of players. The turnaround times for outpatient testing are really unacceptable for being able to safely clear somebody to play. When you have this type of problem with testing, where it might take days to get a result back, it really makes it extremely challenging for this to occur.”
Before the big decision, many players took to Twitter to voice their concerns and stand united for the players who are wanting the season to continue unscathed. A movement began aptly titled the “Big Ten United.” They also enlisted the help of an advocacy group. On August 5, a group representing over 1,000 players –College Athlete Unity – issued a list of demands it wanted to see implemented by Big 10 and the NCAA for the 2020 season.
The Big Ten United issued a letter to the NCAA, demanding they be included in the decision making.
“While we appreciate the Big Ten’s recently announced plan for the upcoming season, we believe that the conference’s proposal falls short in certain areas,” the letter from Big Ten Unite stated. “Given that the players are the primary stakeholders in the business of college sports, we believe any course of action moving forward needs to include player input. We are deeply disappointed with the lack of leadership demonstrated by the NCAA with respect to player safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that the NCAA must — on its own and through collaboration with the conference — devise a comprehensive plan to ensure the safety and well-being of players leading up to and during the upcoming fall season.”
“The NCAA — which is known for its zeal for regulations and enforcement — has had ample time to prepare for the safe return of its athletes to competition, yet it has done nothing. Its laissez-faire approach is forcing each conference and each school to create its own plan, resulting in inconsistent policies, procedures and protocols,” the letter continued. “Given that the NCAA and conference leadership have not asked for our input, we feel compelled to call for clarity, commitment, and action regarding our common-sense proposal.”
President Donald Trump even stood in solidarity with the players on Twitter. On August 10, Trump posted “The student-athletes have been working too hard for their season to be cancelled.” He even ended his tweet with the hashtag, “#wewanttoplay.” He also shared a tweet from Trevor Lawrence with the same message and hashtag.
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