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Big Ten Conference confirms there will be no fall football season

Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio

Update: August 11, 2020 at 3:16 p.m.

The Big Ten Conference has confirmed today that there will not be a fall sports season. It is the first of the college football's elite "Power Five" conferences to make the decision.

“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,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement. “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 decision impacts regular season contests as well as Big Ten championships and tournaments. 

The sports impacted are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The conference will continue to evaluate other potential options for these sports, including a potential spring season. 

No decision on winter or spring sports has yet been made. 

Original post: August 10, 2020, 4:08 p.m.

A source who asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to speak for the University of Michigan confirmed other media reports that the Big Ten will not be playing fall football.

Multiple media outlets reported that the presidents of all 14 Big Ten universities voted on the cancellation. The University of Michigan and Michigan State University, both with presidents who are physicians, voted for the cancellation of the season. The outlets reported the only two schools to vote against the cancellation were Nebraska and Iowa. 

The reaction from players and coaches has been mixed. In a statement, U-M head football coach Jim Harbaugh praised the health and safety guidelines implemented for the football team. 

“I am forever proud of our players, parents, coaches and staff for being leaders and role models in our sport, at our institution and in society. We will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, teach, train, and coach those young men and their families that have put their trust in us, while advocating for a football season in the fall.” 

Other players and coaches expressed their disappointment with the cancellation of the fall season, tweeting the hashtag #wewanttoplay and #wewanttocoach.

U-M offensive coordinator Josh Gattis tweeted with the hashtag, and praised the health and safety procedures at U-M, saying "Our medical protocol is the standard."

Other players, like DeAri Todd of MSU, expressed understanding of the reasoning behind the decision to cancel the fall season.

Todd tweeted, “I aspire to possibly be a professional NFL player, but I also aspire to be a great father, husband, and brother. It’s bigger than football at this point.” 

Todd also retweeted former Ohio State University player and Detroit native Mike Weber, who said, “I mean I lost two family members to COVID and I don’t want no one Else to experience that. As much as I love football, I can see why they cancelled. People have died and still dying from this virus. Lives are more important than football.” 

The Big Ten has yet to release a formal announcement of the cancellation.

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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