The Big Ten announced Thursday that it will implement conference-only schedules for fall athletics — given the conference is permitted to participate in sports.
Adhering to medical advice, the Big Ten came to a decision that will affect football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The statement said the decision will give the conference “the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season.”
Ohio State football was initially expected to kick off the season Sept. 5 with a home match-up with Bowling Green, and the Falcons will miss out on the $1.2 million Ohio State was set to pay them. If the current conference schedule stands, the Buckeyes will begin their 2020 campaign Sept. 26 against Rutgers at home.
Ohio State’s highly-anticipated match-up with Oregon will be removed from its schedule — although it’s unclear if the match-up with Oregon would have been possible due to the state’s current stance on fans and athletics — as well as home games against Bowling Green and Buffalo. Elsewhere in Big Ten football, Wisconsin’s matchup with Notre Dame and Michigan’s game against Washington will be cut from the 2020 schedule.
The Big Ten also announced that the football season will be 10 games, which may cause Ohio State’s current nine-game schedule to be reworked. Details on how the sports will operate logistically will be released at a later date, according to the press release.
The conference also announced that voluntary athletic activities will be allowed to continue in all sports, one day after Ohio State placed a pause on all voluntary athletic activities after an undisclosed number of athletes and staff tested positive for COVID-19.
The Big Ten’s announcement also comes one day after the Ivy League’s decision to cancel intercollegiate athletics during the fall semester. The Big Ten is the first Power Five conference to announce a conference-only model.