NCAA Football News and Notes: Big Ten Goes Conference-Only

It has been a bad week for the NCAA’s chances of having a football season as programs are delaying starts, teams are shutting down offseason programs, and conferences are cutting down schedules.

With so much turmoil out there, let’s take a look at the biggest stories from the last week.

Big Ten To Cut Non-Conference Games

On Thursday, the Big Ten announced that they will be cutting a portion of their schedules and will only be playing conference football games for the upcoming 2020 season. This not only affects football, but all fall sports, including soccer, women’s volleyball, and others.

The move is designed at helping to mitigate the chances of outbreaks of the coronavirus. By only playing conference games, it ensures that all teams are on the same page and following conference mandates.

There is some irony in the fact that a team like Illinois will have to travel to New Jersey to play Rutgers but will not be able to play their in-state rival, Illinois State University.

Still, the decision allows the Big Ten to be able to make quick decisions if things change while also holding individual teams within its conference accountable to abide by certain protocols amid this pandemic.

Generally, the Big Ten plays about nine conference games. It is unclear whether that will stay the course or adjust to a higher number to offset the lost games.

This still could all be for naught. If cases continue to rise around the country, college football could eventually get to the point where they decide to shut it down.

Speaking of the Big Ten and shutting down, the Ohio State Buckeyes have stopped their voluntary workouts after several student-athletes tested positive for the coronavirus.

With so many teams across the country and so much variance from state to state, many have argued that college football could be the hardest sport to get through a season (including professional sports). The announcement on Thursday by the Big Ten seems to reinforce this concept.

Ivy League Cancels Football Season

While the Big Ten is still hoping to play games, another conference has decided to completely shut it down for this upcoming season. The Ivy League has been at the forefront of taking precautions early as they were also the first conference to cancel their postseason basketball tournaments back in March.

This is a big development as they now become the first Division I conference to officially cancel their fall seasons. Additionally, they have said that they do not intend to have any sports start before Jan. 1 of 2021, meaning that even winter sports like men’s and women’s basketball would be delayed in their starts.

While the Ivy League is FCS, unlike the top programs which are FBS, it still paints a bleak picture for the outlook of sports this fall.

ACC Delays Start To Fall Season

While the ACC has not cut their schedule down like the Big Ten yet, they have made some adjustments to it. The ACC announced on Thursday that it is going to be delaying the start of their fall schedules to Sept. 1 at the earliest.

This move does not affect football, which doesn’t have its first game until Sept. 2 (North Carolina State at Louisville), but it is still another sign of major conferences conceding the issues of getting their fall seasons going.

The hope is that the delay will give the conference more time to make appropriate decisions while also allowing schools more time to truly get prepared for any adjustments they need to make to their programs to maintain safety.

While the ACC is the first of the “Power Five” conferences to delay, they aren’t the only one overall. The Patriot League also delayed its fall sports schedule until at least Sept. 4.



Our in-house expert for all things regulation, Jackson covers all major recent developments across US states relating to gambling laws & legislation.