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Report: Big Ten presidents vote to cancel fall sports

FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Big Ten could be the first Power 5 conference to cancel fall sports.

According to USA Today, the presidents of the Big Ten voted to not play in the fall due to concerns about COVID-19.

The Detroit Free Press, citing sports radio personality Dan Patrick, said that the vote was 12-2 by the presidents of that conference to not play. Only Iowa and Nebraska voted in favor of playing.

Patrick said that the Big Ten and Pac 12 conferences will both cancel their seasons on Tuesday.

Alan Verlander of Airstream Ventures has been a college athletic director at Jacksonville University and an executive for the Gator Bowl. Football makes a huge impact at individual schools.

“Let’s face it, I mean, the elephant in the room is football funds almost everything in a university,” Verlander said.

Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge
Trump, coaches push for college football as cracks emerge

If the Big Ten and the Pac 12 postpone football Tuesday, Verlander says that could affect both the Florida/Georgia game in Jacksonville and the holiday season’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.

The sudden news of possible Power 5 cancellations comes days after the Mid-American Conference scrapped its fall season. While it isn’t a member of the Power 5, it was seen as the trigger for the larger conferences to consider canceling or postponing their seasons, possibly until spring.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday during an interview with Clay Travis on Fox Sports Radio that he is hopeful that college sports are played this year and that there’s “no reason we can’t play high school and college athletics.”

“My sense is that SEC country is probably going to really want to play the season. I know the Big Ten may go in a different direction, but I do think that people want the season to go,” DeSantis said.

“I’m happy to help out with the effort, because I do think it’s important. At the end of the day, this is a season that these student-athletes will not be able to get back, and that’s going to have ramifications I think far into the future. You can do it safely, all athletes can make the decision for themselves. If they don’t feel comfortable, let them keep their eligibility and come back, but I’d be willing to bet 99% would want to play.”

The Southeastern Conference just released its 10-game, conference-only schedule last Friday and has set a kickoff date of Sept. 26. According to Sports Illustrated, the SEC presidents called a Monday meeting to presumably discuss the ongoing changes.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said on Twitter that patience has been his mindset since the start of the pandemic.

“Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day. @SEC has been deliberate at each step since March...slowed return to practice...delayed 1st game to respect start of fall semester.. Deveoped (sic) testing protocols...We know concerns remain. We have never had a FB season in a COVID-19 environment. Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day, and will continue to do so...every day.”


About the Authors:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.

Kent Justice co-anchors News4Jax's 5 p.m., 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts weeknights and reports on government and politics. He also hosts "This Week in Jacksonville," Channel 4's hot topics and politics public affairs show each Sunday morning at 9 a.m.