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Big Ten cancels college football season for fall 2020, hopes to play in spring 2021

Courtesy: Associated press
Courtesy: Associated press(Charlie Neibergall | AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 3:06 PM EDT
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Following a morning meeting of the conference’s presidents, the Big Ten on Tuesday has decided to cancel the college football season for fall 2020 with hopes of playing in spring 2021, league sources tell CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. With this decision, the Big Ten has become the first Power Five conference to decide not to play this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sentiment throughout college football entering Sunday night was that the Big Ten and Pac-12 would cancel their seasons this week. However, the combination of outspoken coaches and the #WeWantToPlay X #WeAreUnited movement that developed suddenly late Sunday seemed to give pause to the five major conferences.

Big Ten coaches -- including Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh, Penn State’s James Franklin and Nebraska’s Scott Frost -- publicly advocated for playing the 2020 season on Monday.

For weeks, it was believed that if any Power Five conference decided to punt first on playing college football in the fall, it would be the Big Ten. After all, this was the conference that announced over a month ago it was moving to a conference-only schedule for the fall.

The Big Ten became the first conference to make such an adjustment in a move that blindsided their Power Five brethren. However, in short order, the other conferences ultimately made similar moves albeit with varied configurations and projected start dates.

Though cancellations have been taking place at all levels of college football, only recently did they affect the 130-team FBS. UConn was the first FBS team to call curtains on a fall 2020 season last week; UMass followed suit on Tuesday. The MAC was the first FBS conference to call off playing fall sports; it was joined by the Mountain West on Monday. Old Dominion on Monday became the first individual member of an FBS conference (Conference USA) to cancel its season.

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