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Report: Big Ten to play conference-only schedule in 2020

For months, debates have gone on and on about whether or not the 2020 college football season will take place. The coronavirus pandemic has canceled or postponed multiple sports in the country and on Thursday, it might have delivered its biggest blow yet.

According to college football reporter Nicole Auerbach, the Big Ten Conference has decided that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is only going to play conference games this season and cancel all of its nonconference games. The Big Ten is the first FBS conference to make any sort of decision like that.

A few notable matchups that this will impact this season is Ohio State’s game against Oregon, Michigan’s game against Washington, Notre Dame and Wisconsin, and of course, the annual Cy-Hawk Series game between Iowa and Iowa State.

The question now becomes when, if ever, the other Power Five conferences start following the Big Ten’s lead and doing the same. It’s tough to envision a scenario where the Big Ten is the only conference that makes this move.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey joined The Rich Eisen Show in late June and discussed the future of the 2020 season. Sankey did not give an exact date as to when schools would decide on playing or not, but rather a general timeline as to when it might come.

“I think that’s probably a late-July time period. My thinking has shifted a bit,” Sankey said. “We started June 8 after a two-week oversight, diagnostic medical exam period for these voluntary activities. We’ll have three or four weeks — on the 13th of July is when a little bit more practice can begin. I think we deserve the chance to see how that progresses. I would say before we get into full-blown practice, you’re going to be in that decision-making process as it relates to what happens on Labor Day weekend, which is the scheduled start of the season.”

Later in the interview, Sankey added that he and the other four Power Five conference commissioners speak on a daily basis and discuss where things stand right now with the season’s future. The commissioners have already had discussions as to how they will handle scheduling if one conference opts out of playing this fall, but others decide to play anyways.

“That’s one of the complexities that’s in front of college football,” Sankey said. “It’s different than the professional conversation. The best example I can give is to go back to March. We all made independent decisions to stop our basketball tournament, but came to the same conclusions. The result of what’s happened is among the autonomy conferences, those of us in the (Power) Five — ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and myself — we talk every day. We have medical committees; they talk every week. That will be a big part of guiding us forward.”

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