Presidents from the Big Ten "are ready to pull the plug on its fall sports season," according to a report from ESPN. Were that to happen, it could have a domino effect on the other Power Five conferences.
"Several sources have told ESPN over the last 48 hours that the postponement or cancellation of the football season seems inevitable," the report said. "Many of those sources believed that it ultimately will take a Power Five conference to move things in that direction, and that either the Big Ten or Pac-12 would probably be the first league to do it."
Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde echoed the report:
The Big Ten, ACC, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 have all made changes to their 2020 football schedules to account for the COVID-19 pandemic, either limiting the number of nonconference games or eliminating them entirely.
However, many wondered if conference commissioners could still forestall more drastic steps with little progress made in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus across the United States.
That discussion reached a fever pitch after the Mid-American Conference postponed all of its fall sports, including football. The MAC was potentially the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
Forde and Ross Dellenger reported for Sports Illustrated on Aug. 1 that Power Five conference leaders "have begun exploring the possibility of staging their own championships" in the event the NCAA issued a blanket suspension or cancellation of fall sports.
That kind of plan would be all but impossible, though, if one of the five wiped out a 2020 fall football season, which is to say nothing of the logistical hurdles of making that concept a reality.
Spring football would be better than no football at all, but a postponement could lead to more players opting out to focus on the 2021 NFL draft. A spring season would almost certainly overlap with next year's draft or run close enough so as to limit how much prospective prospects could work out and meet with teams.
A handful of notable stars already signaled their desire to prepare for the draft, and that list will likely grow if what "seems inevitable" comes to pass.