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Big 12 officially announces new scheduling format for 2020

The last of the Power 5 conferences has made their decision on scheduling for the upcoming college football season. The Big 12 Conference, following in the footsteps of the Big Ten, Pac-12, ACC and SEC, will feature mostly in-conference action.

Big 12 teams will play nine league games and an additional non-conference game in 2020, bringing the total number of regular-season games for each Big 12 program to 10. The ACC announced plans for a similar model, choosing a 10-plus-1 format, last month.

The Big 12 released the following statement concerning the scheduling changes:

“The Big 12 Board of Directors today announced that Conference football programs will play a “9+1” schedule for the 2020 season consisting of nine conference games and one non-conference home opponent.
 

“The start of Conference play will be solidified in the coming weeks, with an anticipated start sometime between mid- to late-September, with the expectation that non-conference games are contested prior to beginning league games.
 
“The model also gives the Conference flexibility to move back the Dr Pepper Big 12 Championship game to December 12th or 19th.
 
“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward.  However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Big Ten was the first FBS conference to officially announce changes to the 2020 college football schedule due to the COVD-19 pandemic, announcing on July 9 that it was moving to a conference-only schedule. One day later, the Pac-12 announced that it was following suit with the conference-only schedule.

The ACC announced on July 29 that it was moving to an 11-game slate with 10 conference games and one non-conference game that is required to be played within the state of the ACC institution. FBS Independent Notre Dame was also included in the ACC schedule and will be eligible to compete in the ACC Championship Game.

On July 30, the SEC announced that it was moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule with a new start date of Sept. 26 and pushing the SEC Championship Game back two weeks to Dec. 19.

The Big 12 announced on July 30 that it was canceling its Big 12 Football Media, which was scheduled to take place virtually on Mon., Aug. 3.

“There continues to be a lot more questions than answers about what the football season will look like,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement on the cancellation. “A media day is intended to talk football and the prospects for the season. Part of that discussion is who you will be playing and when. With the on-going consideration of scheduling models by our Board of Directors, this is the best course of action at this time.”

Following the Big Ten’s official announcement in early July, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby reportedly said the league had no immediate plans to announce a conference-only schedule. According to Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News, Bowlsby said he had spoken to Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on the morning of the announcement and was given no indication that the league was moving to a conference-only schedule.

“I believe it’s early to make that sort of a decision,” Bowlsby said, “but perhaps they have a different perspective.”

At least two Big 12 member institutions are known to have had a considerable number of football players test positive for COVID-19 since returning to campus for voluntary workouts. Kansas State suspended all workouts in mid-June after 14 members of the football team tested positive for the virus. Texas later announced that 13 football players had tested positive for the virus, with others also self-quarantining via contact tracing.

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