Two major conferences out of the Power Five conferences announced that they will postpone college football games among its member institutions until spring 2021 over fears about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences made the announcement this past week, with Pac-12 postponing all fall sports until 2021 while the Big Ten only postponed college football games.
The Pac-12’s postponement includes basketball, whose season typically starts in November and goes until the following April.
However, three other major conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference, and Big 12, will go forward with an adjusted college football schedule this fall. The adjusted schedules involve no non-conference opponents and will be a reduced slate. The Atlantic Coast planned for an eleven-game season, while Southeastern said its member teams will play ten games. The Big 12 announced at least nine games will be played by each of its member teams.
Multiple student athletes at Pac-12 schools published a list of demands for their conference officials prior to the Pac-12’s postponement announcement and demanded increased coronavirus testing and safety protocols. Other demands included racial equality-related issues.
President Donald Trump publicly voiced his support for playing a college football season this fall and said it would be a “tragic mistake” to cancel the season. He said, “These football players are very young, strong people, and physically, I mean they’re physically in extraordinary shape.” The president added, “So they’re not going to have a problem, you’re not going to see people, you know, could there be? Could it happen? But I doubt it.” Later in the interview, he stated, “So I think football is making a tragic mistake.”
Other student athletes declared that they want to play and continue their academic studies to work towards graduation. Coaches and sports analysts have pointed out that college sports give student athletes structure and a consistent routine, which helps them avoid off-the-field problems. Athletic departments admitted that without a college football season, their finances will take a huge hit, from which it will be difficult to recover short-term.