The decision whether to play FBS college football in 2020 is close to a tipping point.
It’s a decision influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, but there are other factors at work. College football players are inching toward a player’s union. The Power 5 commissioners have not delivered a unified message. The next week will influence whether FBS college football will happen.
Sporting News will update those developments here as they happen.
Mountain West joins MAC in cancellation
Brett McMurphy of Stadium.com reported on Monday that Mountain West Conference presidents voted to cancel the 2020 fall season “because of player health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19.” The MWC, which later confirmed the report, joins the Mid-American Conference as the second FBS conference to cancel its fall season.
McMurphy reported the conference is still considering playing football in the spring.
The cancellation of the MWC season brings the total number of canceled FBS seasons to 26: 12 from the MWC and 12 from the MAC, plus cancellations from UConn (independent) and Old Dominion (C-USA). The MWC featured four teams of 10-plus wins in 2019 (Boise State, Air Force, Hawaii and San Diego State). Boise State is ranked No. 25 in Sporting News’ preseason top 25 of 2020 and received votes in the recently released Coaches Poll.
Nebraska looking for options
Nebraska coach Scott Frost says the Huskers are committed to playing in 2020. Frost says if the Huskers cannot play in the Big Ten this season they will seek out other options.
“Our University is committed to playing no matter what, no matter what that looks like and how that looks. We want to play no matter who it is or where it is.”#Huskers HC Scott Frost on opponents for 2020. pic.twitter.com/kTPN9znv0v
— Husker Sports (@HuskerSports) August 10, 2020
President Trump weighs in
President Donald Trump tweeted his support for a college football season on Monday afternoon:
Play College Football!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 10, 2020
Expect several other politicians to follow in the coming days.
Scott Satterfield criticizes leaders
Louisville coach Scott Satterfield didn’t hold back in a Monday press conference. Satterfield said the ACC’s plan is to move forward with football, and he defended his program’s practices.
Scott Satterfield criticizes the leaders of “some of these leagues and conferences” for not sticking to a plan. “That’s not leadership. We had months to plan out how we’re going to come back, how are we going to do this. And we’ve been doing it, our kids have been doing it here.” pic.twitter.com/HExrssFVtf
— Tyler Greever (@Tyler_Greever) August 10, 2020
Old Dominion cancels football
(Aug. 9): The Athetlic reports Old Dominion, a member of Conference USA, will not play football in 2020.
Old Dominion is canceling its fall sports season and fall football, source tells @TheAthleticCFB.
— Nicole Auerbach 😷 (@NicoleAuerbach) August 10, 2020
The Monarchs finished 1-11 last season. First-year coach Ricky Rahne wil have to wait until 2021 to lead Old Dominion on the field.
Reports: Big Ten decision looms
(Aug. 9): The Detroit Free Press reported the Big Ten will announce Tuesday plans to cancel the 2020 college football season, at least for the fall. Earlier Monday morning, Dan Patrick reported on his radio show that the conference voted and decided to postpone the season by a 12-2 vote. Nebraska and Iowa were reportedly the two schools that voted in favor of continuing the season.
That report has been refuted, according to Husker Oline publisher Sean Callahan:
As for the 12-2…I was told that had to due with a medical call with the Big Ten office and each school. Only Nebraska and Iowa’s medical officials said they were currently comfortable with everything at this time.
— Sean Callahan (@Sean_Callahan) August 10, 2020
According to multiple reports, the Big Ten has yet to vote on a final decision.
Big Ten spokesman said no updates and no votes have been taken at this time.
— Heather Dinich (@CFBHeather) August 10, 2020
We Want To Play movement
(Aug. 9): While several college stars have opted out for the 2020 season, others have sparked a movement to save the 2020 season. That includes Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Alabama running back Najee Harris. The players said one of the goals is to “utlimately create a college football players association.”
Big Ten presidents meet
(Aug. 9): The Big Ten is rumored to be the next conference to call off the fall sports season. New Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren reportedly favors a spring season , and the presidents of the 14 schools meet on Aug. 9. No decision has been made, but Yahoo Sports Pete Thamel reports the league is on the cusp of canceling the season.
Source: Big Ten Presidents remain on the cusp of cancelling the season, but the league isn’t ready to announce. The decision is close, but not final. Big Ten programs have been instructed by Commissioner Kevin Warren to essentially go light in practice tomorrow.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) August 10, 2020
MAC cancels football
(Aug. 8): The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to postpone the fall college football season. The decision was influenced by Northern Illinois president Lisa Freeman, a former research scientist. The MAC took a financial hit after losing 11 nonconference games with the Big Ten. The MAC has 12 football programs, and the conference is exploring spring football.
UConn cancels season
(Aug. 5): UConn becomes the first of the 130 FBS programs to cancel its season. The administration cited COVID-19 concerns. The Huskies moved to independent status in 2020-21 after leaving the American Athletic Conference.
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