Updated Aug 11, 2020 - Sports

PAC-12 and Big Ten postpone fall sports due to coronavirus

The Big Ten logo.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they've voted to postpone their 2020 fall sports seasons, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.

Why it matters: The move from two of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.

  • The move affects "men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball," per the Big Ten's announcement.
  • The decisions come after the Mid-American Conference became the first FBS league to postpone fall sports last Saturday.
  • The Big Ten previously announced it would play a conference-only schedule, but the state of the outbreak in the U.S. — which is still reporting over 1,000 deaths a day and over five million total cases — has made the situation untenable.
  • The PAC-12 is scrapping its previous plan to hold a 10-game conference-only season.

The big picture: The pressure to suspend college football has been fueled by concerns about myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. The condition, which has been linked to COVID-19, has been found in at least five Big Ten Conference athletes, along with several athletes in other conferences, ESPN reports.

The other side: Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh issued a letter on Monday arguing in favor of playing, saying he believed "that this virus can be controlled and handled because of the facts," per MLive. He cited his team's success in testing athletes and coaches and noted it had "zero pauses in our training" as a result of the pandemic.

  • A dozen players from all five major conferences released a joint statement on Sunday expressing their desire to play the 2020 season, while laying out their plans to form a players' association in the future.

Go deeper: The college football season is on the brink

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