Report: Big Ten presidents appear "ready to pull the plug" on football season

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota
Nov 30, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of TCF Bank Stadium during a game between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten issued a revised football schedule last week that had the Gophers playing their opener on Sept. 5 at Michigan State. The 10-game conference only schedule was the result of the conference’s decision to eliminate nonconference games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But it now appears as if the Gophers might not play the Spartans or any other team this fall. Commissioners of the Power 5 conferences held an emergency meeting on Sunday, according to ESPN, and there is growing concern that the football season and other fall sports can’t be played because of the pandemic.

ESPN also reported that multiple sources have indicated that Big Ten presidents were ready to pull the plug on the fall sports season after meeting on Saturday. Those presidents wanted to see if commissioners and other university presidents and chancellors from the other Power 5 conferences (ACC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) will “fall in line with them.”

No official vote was taken by the Big Ten presidents on Saturday but they were set to meet again Sunday night. There is a possibility the Big Ten will look to play its football season in the spring. The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS league to postpone football and its fall sports on Saturday.

The Gophers already had star wide receiver Rashod Bateman opt-out of the season last week and announce that he will enter the 2021 NFL draft. If the college football season is moved to the spring, and the NFL keeps its draft in April, odds are good several more big-name, draft-eligible players will decide to skip the season, in large part because they don’t want to risk injury.