High-ranking sources close to the Big Ten football conference said the university presidents voted 12-2 Monday to cancel the fall football season due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
“It’s done,” one high-ranking source in the Big Ten said Monday afternoon. Officially, though, the Big Ten said no decision had been made.
Big Ten teams have been grappling with the best ways to keep players, coaches, and fans safe as the football season unfolds over the fall semester of the academic year.
On July 9, the conference announced that teams would only play other teams within their own conference to limit travel. Many of the teams including Penn State also announced that they would play without fans–committing to millions of dollars in losses from ticket and concession sales.
Conference accepts huge economic losses by cancelling season
A report on StateCollege.com said that in the 2017-2018 school year, Penn State’s football team generated $100 million in revenue for the program and the school. Some of those funds help other sports that aren’t as popular or well-attended, and all of that will be hurt by cancelling the football season entirely.
Big Ten teams are already seeing players test positive for the coronavirus after coming back to campus to hold practices, with Wisconsin reporting over the weekend that 21 of its 259 players and staff have tested positive.
Prior to the decision to cancel the season, protocols were put into place to screen players and staff for symptoms, and to test them for the virus twice a week during the season.
MAC conference cancels fall sports
The Mid-Atlantic Conference canceled all fall sports on Saturday, so the Big Ten would be the second Division I higher education sports conference to cancel play.
Both conferences said they were considering a spring season for the sports canceled.
Rates of severe infection among college-age people are low, and deaths are rare, with under 300 deaths of people under 25 in the U.S. out of more than 5 million coronavirus cases.
In all likelihood, top collegiate athletes are entirely safe from this virus, but society has convinced itself that even a miniscule danger is too much to handle.
The virus has been harmless to young people in good health, but that hasn’t stopped organizations from potentially harming the futures of thousands of top college athletes with draconian restrictions. And I’m sure colleges will be asking for government bailouts next even though most of them have billions in endowments.