The Big Ten has announced its intentions to play a conference-only schedule for fall sports, including football. Some other leagues are reportedly expected to follow suit, though the SEC doesn’t seem to be in any rush.
Shortly after the Big Ten announcement came, reports that two other Power Five programs are set to do the same emerged. The ACC is expected to do the same, while the Pac-12 will meet to try and figure things out. A move to a conference-only schedule, at least to start, seems likely.
The final two Power Five leagues are taking a different approach. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby shut down the idea very quickly when asked earlier. According to 247’s Brandon Marcello, SEC coaches were blindsided by the Big Ten’s decision today.
Marcello says that the SEC “will wait as long as they can” before making a similar move. It is unclear what that time frame will look like. With practices set to begin in early August, one would imagine that a decision impacting many early season September games has to come pretty soon.
SEC coaches met this morning. Person involved in the call tells @247Sports they had no idea Big Ten decision was coming and that message from SEC admin this morning is SEC will wait as long as they can before making ANY decisions on football season.
— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) July 9, 2020
Moving to an all-conference schedule takes away some games, which lowers risk to an extent, it is far from a full solution. The ACC spans from the Northeast to Florida, while the Big Ten runs from New Jersey/Maryland all the way to Nebraska. These Power Five leagues still require immense travel, even within league play.
There will also be fallout in the canceled games. Without non-conference play, the Group of Five and many FCS programs are going to lose a ton of revenue.
Hopefully there is a solution, and we can get a football season this fall, or even in the spring rather than an outright cancellation. Things are moving in the wrong direction if that is the hope, though.