The Big Ten has pulled the plug on a fall football season on Tuesday, and this time for good.
The league was rumored to have voted to cancel the season on Monday, triggering the Big Ten’s top coaches coming out and saying they would pursue a football season by other means.
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SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show that his league was focused on its 14 teams and 10 games, and that “there are probably any number of legal, contactual, media … I could just go down a list of reasons that’s not quite practical.”
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta told The Athletic that it was his understanding that playing outside of the Big Ten would violate the league’s membership criteria, and the Hawkeyes were not considering that.
Sankey suggested the other leagues’ decisions would not alter the SEC’s path, but would serve as another data point.
“It is information for us, that’s what it is,” Sankey said. “Every day we learn a little bit more.
“It is not simply going to be a guiding moment if another conference makes a decision, but a piece of information along this interesting journey.”
But there’s no escaping the reality that the more conferences that are willing to compete this fall, the more likely it is there is a college football season.
Georgia, of course, has a stacked roster loaded with veteran football players.
While some have suggested spring football is an option, it’s likely the Bulldogs would lose some of the NFL draft eligible players who had elected to stay for junior and senior seasons.
The Big Ten’s decision is not good news for the players who are lobbying to compete this season, such as Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and certainly not Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
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Fields, of course, transferred out of Georgia and the SEC following the 2018 season rather than return to compete with Jake Fromm for the starting duties.
Fields led the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoffs last season, but it could end up being his only season if he elects to go pro as many suspect.
Clemson’s Lawrence still has hope for this season, as the ACC is reportedly on board with the SEC and moving forward toward a season.
The Big 12, the final Power 5 conference, might ultimately determine where there’s a college football season.
Group of Five conferences that are still planning to play include Conference USA, the American Athletic Conference and the Sun Belt.
The Big Ten is the first of the five power conferences to cancel its fall season, and the Pac-12 has been heavily rumored to be on the verge of following suit.
The Mid-American Conference and Mountain West Conference are the Group of Five conferences to have cancelled their seasons.
FBS schools UConn, UMass and Old Dominion have also said they will not play football this season.
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