The Big 12 Conference has announced plans to proceed with its college football season in the fall, a day after two other Power Five conferences said they were postponing all sports campaigns until spring 2021.
Despite the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences both voting to shutdown their upcoming college football seasons, citing the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, the Big 12 instead released a 10-game fall schedule, with conference fixtures due to begin on September 26 and the championship match set for December 12.
Stadium capacities will be determined by the universities and local guidelines.
“The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby in a statement. “Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we’ve seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes.”
The two other Power Five conferences – the Atlantic Coast Conference and Southeastern Conference – have yet to finalize their plans for fall sports seasons. However, it is believed they will look to play also.
Bowlsby said the Big 12 will stop proceedings if medical advisors say they should do so, while potential postponements have also been factored into the schedule.
“Making adjustments on the fly are going to be a part of this but our medical professionals have said, ‘Go forward, move slowly, make small adjustments, constantly be vigilant about changes in the environment,'” Bowlsby told reporters. “That’s what we’re listening to…when they tell us otherwise we will be listening to that as well.”
The Big 12 is planning a full fall sports season. All athletes will be subject to three tests per week in ”high contact” sports such as American football, volleyball and soccer.
Elsewhere, the Big East Conference announced that it was calling off its fall sports seasons and would look at staging them in spring 2021.
The sports affected are men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball and field hockey.
Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said in a statement: “We take pride in the high-level competition and experiences we provide to our fall sports student-athletes, and we share their deep disappointment that this will not be a normal year. Our plans for men’s and women’s basketball and other sports are unaffected at this time.”
The Big South Conference also postponed its fall sports seasons, with the intent of playing in the spring,