Big Ten Conference Statement (PDF)
Big Ten Conference announced postponements for seven men’s and women’s sports
Columbus, Ohio – The 2020 Big Ten Conference fall athletics seasons, which include the sports of football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country, have been postponed by a league-wide vote of school presidents. The Big Ten will continue to evaluate options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.
The decision by the presidents to postpone was based upon the recommendation of medical experts within the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases in collaboration with the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
“As a former collegiate athlete whose career in sports was cut short by circumstances beyond my control, I deeply feel the pain, frustration and disappointment that all our players, coaches and staff – and all Buckeye fans – are feeling today,” said Ohio State President-elect Kristina M. Johnson. “I will continue to work closely with Athletics Director Gene Smith, Coach Ryan Day and all coaches and other leaders, to return our student-athletes to competition as soon as possible, while staying safe and healthy.
“We are focused on supporting our student-athletes in every way, ensuring their scholarships are still in place, and looking out for their health and safety and the health and safety of all our students as they continue to pursue their studies in these challenging times,” Johnson said.
The decision to postpone fall sports comes less than a week after the Big Ten announced a restructured 2020 football schedule with a 10th conference game added for all schools amid a season that would extend from as early as Sept. 3 through Nov. 21.
"We're disappointed, we really are…But we certainly understand that this was the time that we had to pull the plug."
– @OSU_AD Gene Smith reacted to the postponement of 2020 fall sports: pic.twitter.com/DxEjHyiVlj
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) August 11, 2020
“This is an incredibly sad day for our student-athletes, who have worked so hard and been so vigilant fighting against this pandemic to get this close to their season,” Smith said. “My heart aches for them and their families.
“President-elect Johnson and I were totally aligned in our efforts to delay the start of the season rather than postpone. I am so grateful to her for all her efforts in support of our student-athletes and a traditional fall season.
“As an institution and as an athletic department, we have a responsibility first and foremost to care for the health, safety and wellness of our students and staff, and I believe we have done that successfully.”
Specifics and details with regard to what workout and training regimens will consist of this fall for the student-athletes involved with these sports are being determined. Resources currently in place that benefit these student-athletes at Ohio State will remain.
Comprehensive mental health services will continue for all student-athletes through the athletic department’s staff at its Sport Psychology and Wellness Services department.
Big Ten Statement on 2020-21 Fall Seasonhttps://t.co/BCiRSzeAPL
— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) August 11, 2020
Big Ten Statement on 2020-21 Fall Season
ROSEMONT, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season, including all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.
“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The fall sports included in this announcement are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.
The Big Ten Conference is proud of its 14 world-class research institutions and has leveraged their resources and expertise to address this pandemic over the past five months. The Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee have engaged in extensive research and sharing of materials and conversations with federal, state and local government agencies, and professional and international sports organizations in order to track and better understand the daily updates surrounding this pandemic. Their advice and counsel have been invaluable as they have worked tirelessly over the past several months in their efforts to create and maintain a safe environment for athletics.
The Big Ten Conference will continue to work with medical experts and governmental authorities to gather additional information, evaluate emerging data and technologies, and monitor developments regarding the pandemic to make the best decisions possible for the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes.