One of the major Power 5 conferences in college football looks poised to shut it all down this year.
According to a report by the Detroit Free Press, the Big Ten — which features Pennsylvania football giants Penn State — is expected to cancel its 2020 season.
“It’s done,” one high-ranking source within the conference told the Free Press.
It would be a major shoe to drop when it comes to the viability of the 2020 college football season. The Big Ten, which features 14 teams, features other high-profile programs like Michigan, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.
Per reports, a vote amongst the school’s presidents resulted in a 12-2 decision on canceling the season with Iowa and Nebraska as the only programs in favor of playing.
A formal announcement is expected on Tuesday.
Another Power 5 conference, the Pac-12, is also believed to be canceling its 2020 season. That leaves the remaining power conferences — the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 — with some major decisions.
According to Dan Patrick, the ACC and Big 12 are “on the fence” about playing this season while the SEC (Southeastern Conference) is not abandoning hope yet, inviting other schools to join their conference this season.
Such a decision regarding college athletes is far more complex than in professional sports.
Because they are not paid, the NCAA does not consider student-athletes employees, which means they don’t have the right to collectively bargain health-and-safety protocols like in Major League Baseball.
Prominent players like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence are trying to get the ball rolling on such a concept, but unionizing college football players would be a significant undertaking that would likely stretch well past the potential start of the 2020 season.
Without a union, players who choose to opt-out of the season because of coronavirus concerns would not be guaranteed their scholarships or could face other penalties from their respective institutions.