Big Ten football reportedly canceled in big blow to college season

The Big Ten blinked first. The conference became the first in the Power 5 to cancel its 2020 football season on Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported. Facing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the league’s presidents voted 12-2 to not play fall sports, according to the report — with only Nebraska and Iowa voting to …

The Big Ten blinked first.

The conference became the first in the Power 5 to cancel its 2020 football season on Monday, the Detroit Free Press reported. Facing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, the league’s presidents voted 12-2 to not play fall sports, according to the report — with only Nebraska and Iowa voting to play, Dan Patrick reported on his radio show. The Power 5 conferences met Sunday to discuss canceling the 2020 season.

The home of powerhouses like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin — which, along with Minnesota and Iowa, were all included in the preseason Top 25 Coaches’ poll — became the second FBS conference to cancel its season after the MAC was the first on Saturday. UConn, an independent, was the first FBS school to cancel its season. The Big Ten had previously shifted to a conference-only schedule.

The Big Ten is expected to make the official announcement Tuesday, according to the Free Press. Patrick reported the Pac-12 is also going to cancel its 2020 season, with the SEC, ACC and Big 12 holding on for now.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh made what appeared to be a last-ditch effort to reverse course Monday, issuing a statement that claimed “this virus can be controlled and handled.”

“I would like to address the rumors that are swirling today,” Harbaugh said. “I’m not advocating for football this fall because of my passion or our players desire to play but because of the facts accumulated over the last eight weeks since our players returned to campus on June 13.”

Harbaugh cited 11 positive tests out of 893 administered to the football program, including two out of the last 417 and zero out of the last 353. He said Michigan’s health and safety guidelines have been followed and could be an example for others to match.

“This isn’t easy. This is hard,” Harbaugh said. “We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play. If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.”

Michigan defensive back Hunter Reynolds was one of the organizers behind the #BigTenUnited movement, which called on the conference to adopt stricter health and safety protocols and ensure protections for its athletes in the face of COVID-19.

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