Report: Big 12 Planning Football in Fall Despite Big Ten, Pac-12 Postponements

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

The Big 12 logo is seen on a pylon during the first half of an NCAA college football game between Texas and USC, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The Big 12 will reportedly go ahead with plans to play its college football schedule in the fall, according to Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports.

It was unclear if the conference would cancel the fall season and attempt to move it to the spring, as both the Big Ten and Pac-12 have done.

Thamel noted the Big 12 presidents held a call Tuesday and decided as much, and the league will release a schedule in the near future.

Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram added to the report, noting "the Big 12 board of directors have gone into an executive session but feeling is league will continue pursuing a season."

The major questions for the college football season now revolve around the SEC and ACC. Dan Patrick reported on his radio show Monday that the SEC was pushing for a fall season, while the ACC was on the fence.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey tweeted Monday, meanwhile, that the conference was taking a patient approach to determine the best course of action for holding a season:

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And Monday, an ACC official told Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, "We are trying to move forward [with playing] absolutely."

"[Canceling football in the next couple of days] could happen for some leagues," that official added. "I'm not sure it's going to happen in the Atlantic Coast Conference."

Dr. Cameron Wolfe, the chairman of the ACC's medical advisory team, told Michael Smith of Sports Business Daily that he believes the league can safely proceed with football:

"We believe we can mitigate it down to a level that makes everyone safe. Can we safely have two teams meet on the field? I would say yes. Will it be tough? Yes. Will it be expensive and hard and lots of work? For sure. But I do believe you can sufficiently mitigate the risk of bringing COVID onto the football field or into the training room at a level that's no different than living as a student on campus."

One concern the NCAA has had with playing in the fall is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that has been linked to the coronavirus and "has been found in at least five Big Ten Conference athletes and among several other athletes in other conferences," per Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.

The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach reported Tuesday the Big Ten "is aware of at least 10 players who have myocarditis, an alarmingly high number for an otherwise rare condition."

There are also the concerns of increased risk of transmission once students return to campus or when teams travel. Keeping nearly a hundred players per team from socializing and attending college parties, for instance, is a tall ask.

And with the Big Ten and Pac-12 now postponing their seasons until the spring, there is also the question of whether the College Football Playoff will occur at all this season. Could any such tournament be pushed to the spring? And if the SEC, Big 12 and ACC move forward with plans to play in the fall, will they eschew a postseason altogether?

What about teams from the Big Ten and Pac-12 that want to play? Nebraska has already made it clear that it would examine non-Big Ten options to ensure playing football this autumn.

"We will continue to consult with medical experts and evaluate the situation as it emerges," Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, president Ted Carter and chancellor Ronnie Green said in a joint statement Tuesday regarding the possibility of playing in the fall, per Harry Lyles Jr. of ESPN. "We hope it may be possible for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to compete."

More questions than answers remain.