The Big Ten Conference is postponing its fall sports season.
In a statement released Tuesday the conference said all regular-season games, championships and tournaments are postponed due “to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball are all included.
In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
“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, said in the statement.
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. 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.– Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren
“The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated,” the statement said.
A meeting reportedly took place Tuesday between Big Ten University presidents.
Neither the Big Ten conference or Northwestern University media relations has returned WGN’s calls for comment about the meeting.
Earlier Tuesday, before an official announcement was made, University of Illinois head football coach Lovie Smith was asked about the possibility of canceling the season.
-“If there’s something that would cause us to pause (the season), then we should pause, not cancel,” he said. ” We play football. You would like the chance to at least play football first and see if it works.”
“If we can’t play, the first thing on players’ mind is how is their eligibility affected? If there’s a spring season, is it a full season?” Smith said. “A lot of guys worked hard for their senior year and want to play. They are patient enough to wait if that’s the case. They just want to play it.”
We are in the Big Ten Conference. We feel good about it. We will do whatever the Big Ten says, that’s our approach right now.Illinois head coach Lovie Smith