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Could there be Big Ten football starting the week of Thanksgiving?

Deseret News logo Deseret News 8/28/2020 Brandon Judd
a close up of some grass: FILE: In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa. © Charlie Neibergall, Associated Press FILE: In this Aug. 31, 2019, file photo, the Big Ten logo is displayed on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio in Iowa City, Iowa.

Editor’s note: Check back for updates as conferences and individual schools make announcements or adjustments to their schedules.

SALT LAKE CITY — The status of the 2020 college football season is in flux with novel coronavirus numbers surging throughout the United States.

Here’s a look at where conferences and teams stand right now in regard to their 2020 football schedules:

The latest

Big Ten

Multiple news outlets reported that the Big Ten is considering kicking off its college football season the week of Thanksgiving, among other options the league is discussing.

ESPN reported that the option that’s created the most discussion is for Big Ten football to start in early January, with an eight- or nine-game conference-only schedule played at indoor venues.

“It may be a little earlier, but around January,” Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez told ESPN earlier this week. “We may try to start earlier. We’re talking to all of the TV people, trying to get all of the information and see what fits. We still have to go through our chancellors and presidents to OK it.”

The Big Ten announced Aug. 11 it was postponing all fall sports competition due to health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the first Power Five conference to call off football this fall in a move that been criticized throughout the league’s footprint. The Pac-12 soon followed, and four FBS conferences, including the Mountain West and Mac-American conferences, have postponed fall football play.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus, who broke the story, said Big Ten coaches continued to work on a revised schedule as the league’s commissioner, Kevin Warren, faced criticism from parent groups asking for answers. On Thursday, eight Nebraska players filed a lawsuit, attempting to overturn the decision to postpone the season.

“League sources seem to be making accommodation for a potential earlier start in 2020 if there is what was termed an ‘overnight’ change surrounding medical conditions, testing and contact tracing,” CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd and Ben Kercheval wrote.

a crowd of people: Among the changes to the 2020 college football season so far due to novel coronavirus safety concerns is the Pac-12 announcing its members will only play against league opponents this fall. The league has since pushed all competition to next year. © Scott G Winterton, Deseret News Among the changes to the 2020 college football season so far due to novel coronavirus safety concerns is the Pac-12 announcing its members will only play against league opponents this fall. The league has since pushed all competition to next year.

Power Five conference decisions

Atlantic Coast Conference

2020 schedule decision: 10 conference games + one nonconference

Play for ACC teams will begin the weekend of Sept. 12, with the opening game on Thursday, Sept. 10 between the ACC’s Miami and UAB. Each team’s 11 games are spaced out over a 13-week schedule, with flexibility built in to move games if needed. The ACC championship game will take place either Dec. 12 or 19 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Big 12

2020 schedule decision: Nine conference games plus one nonconference

The Big 12 conference season begins Sept. 26 — each school will play its nonconference game on Sept. 12 — and each team will have a minimum of two byes, with a third potentially late in the year. The Big 12 championship game is tentatively set for Dec. 12.

Big Ten

2020 schedule decision: Postponed fall sports competition

The Big Ten became the first Power Five conference to call off football this fall, while expressing hope of being able to play its fall sports in spring 2021.

“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.”

Pac-12

2020 schedule decision: Postponed fall sports competition

The Pac-12 CEO Group unanimously voted to postpone all league competition through the end of the calendar, while announcing they would consider returning to competition “when conditions improve.”

“Ultimately, our decision was guided by science and a deep commitment to the health and welfare of student-athletes. We certainly hope that the Pac-12 will be able to return to competition in the new year,” Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon and chair of the Pac-12 CEO Group, said in a statement.

It’s the first time since 1918 that Utah football won’t be played in the football. That year, a shortage of players (related to World War I) and the Spanish influenza kept the Utes from playing.

“This has been an incredibly difficult time for our young people, and our primary concern is for the health, safety and well-being of the student-athletes, whose interests and needs we prioritize and serve on a daily basis,” Utah athletic director Mark Harlan said in a letter posted online.

SEC

2020 schedule decision: 10 conference games

The SEC is the lone Power Five conference moving forth with a conference-only schedule this fall, with kickoff for the league’s season on Sept. 26. The SEC championship game will take place Dec. 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, two weeks after its originally scheduled date. Each member institution’s schedule will include two open dates, including one midseason and another league-wide one Dec. 12.

Group of Five conference decisions

American Athletic Conference

2020 schedule decision: Eight conference games, with up to four nonconference

Nonconference games — CBS Sports reported as many as four will be allowed — will be up to the discretion of individual schools. Conference play will begin Sept. 19 for AAC members, and the league’s championship game will be played one of three dates — Dec. 5, 12 or 19, with flexibility built in to account for any games that need rescheduling — at the home stadium of the regular-season champion.

Conference USA

2020 schedule decision: Eight conference games, with up to four nonconference

Conference games will be played on their originally scheduled dates. Schools will also have the option to add up to four nonconference games, at their own discretion. The league’s championship game, for now, remains scheduled for Dec. 5.

A pair of C-USA schools have independently made their own decisions on the 2020 season. Old Dominion canceled fall competition in all sports, while Rice pushed back the start of its football season to Sept. 26.

Mid-American Conference

2020 schedule decision: Postponed fall sports competition

The MAC became the first FBS conference to nix its 2020 schedule with the postponement. The league intends to pursue moving fall sports to the spring.

“The decision is grounded in the core values of the conference that prioritize student-athlete well-being, an area the MAC has traditionally taken a leadership role,” MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement. “Clearly, we are charting a conservative path — and it is one that has been recommended by our medical advisory group. It is a decision that affects roughly 2,500 student-athletes who live for the moment to compete.”

Mountain West

2020 schedule decision: Postponed fall sports competition

Like the MAC two days before it, the Mountain West Conference postponed all fall sports competition, making Utah State the first FBS school in Utah to have its 2020 football season canceled by COVID-19.

“While we are disappointed about the postponement of our fall sports and the opportunities for our student-athletes to compete, the safety and well-being of those student-athletes has been, is and always will be our No. 1 priority,” USU athletic director John Hartwell said in a statement.

Sun Belt

2020 schedule decision: Eight conference games, with up to four nonconference

The Sun Belt season is scheduled to start Labor Day weekend. The Sun Belt will also play a football championship game Dec. 5, with the title game date being adjusted if needed.

FBS independent decisions

These FBS independents have either postponed or canceled their fall 2020 schedule:

Two other FBS independents have announced a revised 2020 schedule (BYU has announced individual games, with eight official):

Football Championship Subdivision decisions

Every FCS conference has now canceled or postponed fall competition, and all Division I NCAA fall sports championships are canceled, while the NCAA announced it will work toward holding scaled back NCAA championships in the spring (* indicates the league is allowing schools to play nonconference games in the fall if they so choose):

More on Dixie State postponing fall season

The Trailblazers were set to play their first season at the Football Championship Subdivision level as an independent. In recent weeks, though, conferences and schools at both the FCS and Division II levels who were scheduled to play Dixie State either canceled or postponed their fall seasons, leaving the Trailblazers with few options.

“As our schedule of games this fall evaporated the last couple weeks, we tried to get something together so our athletes could play, but as we went through each option, there were still too many unknowns and big questions,” Dixie State athletic director Jason Boothe said.

Division II

Division II canceled its NCAA fall sports championships, while determining that moving those championships to the spring would not be feasible.

Every conference at the D-II level has now canceled or postponed its fall football season:

Division III

Division III canceled its NCAA fall sports championships, while determining that moving those championships to the spring would not be feasible.

Every conference at the D-III level has now canceled or postponed its fall football season:

NAIA

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, following a vote from its Council of Presidents, postponed the organization’s football national championship from the fall to spring 2021. The NAIA said the decision will still allow member conferences to play in the fall and winter, if they choose.

The NAIA later announced its football national championship will take place May 10, 2021, and remain at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium at Grambling State.

These conferences have announced adjustments to their fall schedule:

  • Frontier Conference: The Frontier Conference moved football to the spring.
  • Mid-South Conference: Two of the Mid-South’s divisions — the Appalachian and Bluegrass divisions — have postponed fall football, while the conference’s other division, the Sun Division, plans to play its original fall schedule.
  • Mid-States Football Association: The MSFA moved its league schedule to the spring.
  • Sooner Athletic Conference: SAC programs will play three games in the fall and six during the spring.

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