The move makes sense as a first step. It could reduce some travel, though the Big Ten is a sprawling league. Many non-conference games against smaller schools are much closer than, say, Rutgers is to Nebraska.
The move also makes instituting creating a uniform testing policy for teams more feasible. Now, the league’s schools will all be able to be working off the same blueprint, instead of having to worry about how other conferences and teams handle things. There are definite benefits there.
The decision will have some major repercussions though. Non-conference games against Power Five programs, like those in the Big Ten, are huge for Group of Five and other smaller programs. Bowling Green athletic director Bob Moosbrugger released a statement after the decision came out, and without blasting the Big Ten directly, clearly has an issue with how a decision came down without working with other leagues.
Statement from Bowling Green AD Bob Moosbrugger on the Big Ten decision.
"If we are to solve these challenges and be truly dedicated to protecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, we need to do a better job of working together." pic.twitter.com/K3GVi5nOQ6
— Chris Vannini (@ChrisVannini) July 9, 2020
Bowling Green was set to travel to Ohio State to start the season, and Illinois later in September. Those games likely represent millions in lost revenue for the school.
In total, MAC schools like Bowling Green were set to play 11 games against Big Ten programs. Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher has also weighed in on the issue.
MAC commish Jon Steinbrecher, whose league loses 11 $$ guarantee games vs the Big Ten tells @SInow: "(Their decision) was earlier than I had anticipated. We were very anxious to pursue a full season if at all possible. The non-conference and conference games are important to us."
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 9, 2020
Safety is paramount here, but this could have a very negative impact for these schools. Hopefully every college football program will be able to weather this storm.