Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said his conference's plan to limit fall sports to league-only competition could be optimistic as the nation struggles to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"One thing we have to realize that this is not a fait accompli that we're gonna have sports in the fall," Warren told the Big Ten Network. "We may not have sports in the fall. We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten."
On Thursday, the Big Ten became the first Power Five conference to move to a conference-only schedule this fall, but reports emerged later in the afternoon that the Atlantic Coast and Pac-12 conferences likely would follow suit.
The Big Ten weighed input from campus chancellors and presidents, athletic directors, conference staff and medical experts in making the decision. Medical officials consulted include the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
"This is a complicated time, complicated world that we're living in with the COVID-19 pandemic, and so what we're doing is relying on the expert advice of our medical advisers," Warren said. "We have our Big Ten emerging infectious disease committee, and also all of our other Big Ten doctors and trainers.
"And so we made a vow early on that first and foremost, we would put the health and safety and wellness of our student athletes at the center of all of our decisions. So we felt that this was an appropriate time to make this announcement."
The Big Ten cited the flexibility of scheduling as among the reasons for the intraconference-only play. Taking out long travel and other logistics will make it easier for the conference to adapt and to lessen risks.
"Dealing with this pandemic, not understanding how COVID-19 is moving and moving in our society, some days are better than the others, and we just felt by making sure that we kept our scheduling, our games, our competition in the Big Ten family would allow us the flexibility to get us in a better position to possibly play and that's where we wanna be."
--Field Level Media