Big Ten presidents are expected to meet Saturday afternoon to discuss the future of the conference’s fall sports seasons, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told the Detroit Free Press.
And it’s possible a spring football season could be on the table.
The two people were briefed about the meeting but spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The Big Ten confirmed the presidents had a regularly scheduled meeting Saturday, but according to the two people who spoke to the Detroit Free Press, the topic of the conversation has shifted to the college football season. The Free Press is part of the USA TODAY Network.
Going into the meeting, the two people were told Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren preferred a spring football season, although no decision has been made.
The presidents meeting comes hours after the Mid-American Conference became the first from the FBS to cancel its fall college football season in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The MAC will instead pursue a spring football season, commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said Saturday in a conference call.
Michigan and Michigan State opened fall camp Friday. On Saturday, after the MAC’s announcement, the Big Ten announced all schools must remain in the helmets and shorts phase of practice. It’s unclear when practice with full pads will begin.
Steinbrecher said the MAC’s decision to cancel the season wasn’t made for financial reasons, even though the conference is set to lose millions in game-guarantee revenue from canceled games, as Power Five conferences shifted to mostly conference-only schedules. (The ACC and Big 12 are allowing teams one non-conference game; the Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 are conference-only.)
“This was a health and well-being decision, first and foremost,” Steinbrecher said. “We don’t know what this will mean financially.”
Kent State was facing a $5 million loss in game guarantees, the most in the country among Group of Five schools. Buffalo ($2.7 million), Bowling Green ($2.2 million) and Central Michigan ($2.15 million) also were expected to see significant losses, according to data compiled by USA TODAY Sports.
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