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DEVELOPING: College Football On The Brink

Follow along for the latest updates

Colgate v Syracuse

All of a sudden it seems, we’re this close to seeing college football either postponed or canceled for the Fall of 2020. Follow all of the latest developments here:

Thursday

5:44 p.m: All non-FBS fall championships are canceled.

Mark Emmert didn’t exactly break this news; the decision was basically made for the NCAA after a handful of Division I conferences — Southland, Horizon, Big Sky, Western Athletic, Southern, Ohio Valley, West Coast, etc — announced today that they are postponing fall sports. Fall championships for Division I Olympic sports and FCS football were feasible only if 50% of schools in each sport were still available to play. That’s no longer the case.

So, the only postseason championship that remains viable for this fall is in the FBS. Its championship isn’t controlled by the NCAA.


5:40 p.m: All FCS conferences have canceled their fall football season.


10:45 a.m: New Mexico State won’t play football this fall.

NMSU is the third independent program to make this decision, joining UConn and UMass. There are now 54 FBS teams not scheduled to play this fall.


Wednesday

8:21 p.m: As expected, Conference USA is moving forward with fall football


7:09 p.m: The D1 Council chimes in on eligibility extensions.

The NCAA Board of Directors will likely follow through on this recommendation when it meets on Aug. 21.


7:08 p.m: The Big East won’t hold fall sports in 2020.

The Big East is a non-football conference.


5:24 p.m: Regarding the eligibility of those athletes who opt out or have their fall season canceled ... it’s just more can-kicking.


5:20 p.m: Conference USA officials are meeting right now. But don’t expect any news to come from it.


2:40 p.m. The Big 12’s schedule and expanded health protocols

Commissioner Mike Aresco said yesterday that AAC athletes who test positive for COVID-19 will receive an EKG (electrocardiogram) as a part of their medical evaluation as well.

10:28 a.m: An interview with AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco

Aresco told the Orlando Sentinel’s Matt Murschel that it would be “premature” to decide the fate of 2020 AAC football now and that the conference is moving ahead “cautiously, one step at a time.”

Also: “We certainly want to know what was behind the Big Ten and Pac-12 situation because our own doctors have been tracking the heart issues and they’ve been out there, but we want to know what’s changed.”

Nothing has really changed. The issue is that these conferences are receiving different, sometimes contrastinng advice from their medical professionals. The Athletic spoke with Dr. Greg Stewart, the chair of the AAC’s COVID-19 medical advisory group, earlier this week. His words tell you exactly why the American is pushing forward with a season.

An example: “It’s a bad virus. We didn’t shut the country down because people were getting the sniffles. It’s a bad thing.”


10:22 a.m: The Big South (FCS) is postponing fall football but will allow its member schools to play up to four games this year

Ten of the 13 FCS conferences have now canceled fall football. Only the Ohio Valley Conference, the Southland Conference and the Southern Conference remain standing.


10:21 a.m: Big 12 update:


10:16 a.m: Conference USA presidents officials will meet tonight.

As of Tuesday night, it sounded like C-USA is planning to forge ahead with its season. We’ll see if anything changes after this meeting. Conference USA is one of the six FBS conferences that are still planning to have fall football — SEC, ACC, Big 12, AAC, C-USA and Sun Belt.


Tuesday

9:46 p.m: The Big 12 will likely release its revised conference schedule Wednesday

Six FBS conferences are still planning for a 2020 season: The SEC, ACC, Big 12, American, Sun Belt and Conference USA. We know what each of those conferences is thinking right now, either because of reports or their own official statements today.

But as a momentous day in college football comes to a close, 53 of the 130 FBS teams are now not scheduled to play any football this year.


9:15 p.m: A look inside tonight’s Big 12 presidents meeting — with a warning.


8:58 p.m: UCF fans can breathe for another day. The AAC isn’t folding fall football tonight. They will move forward with the season

If the Big 12 or the ACC had decided to cancel fall football tonight, I think you would have seen the American follow. But with three power conferences still standing by football this year, the American and the rest of the Group of 5 Group of 3 will keep on keeping on.


8:29 p.m: Report: Big 12 Conference moving forward with football season; a revised conference schedule may be released tonight.


7:10 p.m: The Big 12 may not cancel 2020 football tonight. Instead, it may release a 2020 conference schedule

A power conference confirming its commitment to fall football with a schedule release tonight would be quite the 180-degree turn from the rest of the day’s college football news. The Big 12 had already announced its plans to play a 10-game season: nine in-conference games plus one out of conference.


6:42 p.m: In memoriam — 2020 Big Ten football


6:35 p.m: American Conference news incoming?

The AAC football season begins as early as Aug. 29 with Marshall vs. East Carolina. The Knights are scheduled to open on Sept. 12 vs. Florida International.


5:55 p.m: Just a few minutes after the ACC’s statement, the SEC commish released this:

No matter what decisions are made by other conferences, the SEC is definitely going to be the last one to punt on fall football.


5:52 p.m: The ACC is staying the course.


5:05 p.m: UCF defensive lineman Kenny Turnier is all of us.

We’re just waiting and wondering, too.


4:53 p.m: RE: scholarships and eligibility in the Pac-12:

Division I must determine by no later than Aug. 14 the eligibility accommodations that must be made for student-athletes who opt out of participating this fall or for those whose seasons are canceled or cut short due to COVID-19.


4:50 p.m: The Power 4?

That comes from USF’s first-year head coach Jeff Scott. Who knows what the college football season (if there is one) will look like, so, hey, it’s time to get creative!


4:31 p.m: How is all of this impacting the AAC? It is in a holding pattern.

The American sounded pretty confident about its 2020 plan last night. But Tuesday’s reality might be giving the AAC’s university presidents some pause right now. Those presidents are scheduled to meet today.

4:27 p.m: It’s official: The Pac-12 is postponing all competition until 2021.

4:08 p.m: Here’s a real ‘Wow!’ moment: The Pac-12 is reportedly canceling all sports for the rest of 2020.

That is a measure above and beyond what most major conferences have done thus far. Those others have said they will continue to examine winter sports schedules. The Ivy League and other, smaller conferences declared a similar 2020 ban this summer.


3:52 p.m: Another P5 bites the dust, reportedly.

The Pac-12 will hold a press conference at the bottom of the next hour, but this decision seemed inevitable once the Big Ten made its choice. Those two conferences always seemed to be linked in reports as the most likely among the P5 to cancel fall sports.


3:28 p.m: This would be interesting.

In the wake of the Big Ten’s decision today, Nebraska has firmly stated that it still wants to play football against ... someone this fall. A matchup here would undoubtedly cause UCF Twitter to explode.


3:12 p.m: Here is the Big Ten’s formal announcement:

The conference has postponed all competitions — regular season and postseason — for all of its fall sports, not just football. Other conferences who choose to call off fall football will inevitably do the same.


2:59 p.m: The Big Ten has canceled. The Pac-12 might soon. But the ACC’s resolve to play fall football has reportedly increased.


2:45 p.m: The Big Ten has reportedly canceled fall football.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had it first.

This was expected given the reports from Monday morning, but as day turned to night, there was a growing sense that the public outrage from players and coaches might cause the Big Ten presidents to delay the fall season rather than outright can it. Ultimately, those calls for #WeWantToPlay didn’t change anything.

Now, with one Power 5 Conference down, all eyes turn to the Pac-12 presidents, who are currently meeting.


10:17 a.m: While we wait for word from some P5 conferences this morning, UMass has called off fall football.

Twenty-six FBS programs have now said they won’t play any football in the fall. It would be 27, but Air Force stated yesterday, even after the Mountain West canceled fall football, that it wants to hold games against Navy and Army.


Monday Evening

10:13 p.m.: And don’t forget about the Pac-12!

Tuesday is going to be very, very active.


9:46 p.m: Will the Big Ten cancel fall football on Tuesday, as was reported Monday morning, or merely delay it?


9:45 p.m: A bit of short-term good news for UCF/AAC fans — The American is reportedly not expected to vote on canceling fall football Tuesday.

AAC commissioner Mike Aresco told The Athletic’s Chris Vannini earlier tonight that the decisions made by the MAC and the Mountain West conferences are “not decisive for us.” Aresco, as he has all along, is glued to what the P5 conferences choose.


8:29 p.m: AAC Commish Mike Aresco speaks:

That quote doesn’t seem to carry the same confidence that other high-profile people in college athletics have conveyed today.


7:49 p.m: Old Dominion football decided earlier today that it’s out for the fall. But Conference USA isn’t ready to shutter everything just yet.

We’ve seen similar quotes of steadfastness today from sources within the SEC, ACC, AAC, Sun Belt, and from numerous coaches and athletic directors around the country.


6:36 p.m: The Sun Belt Conference is following the SEC’s lead

If anyone’s guessing when the three remaining Group of 5 leagues will leave behind fall football, it feels comfortable to say that the Sun Belt will be the last one out the door.


5:34 p.m: The Mountain West Conference has said no to fall football.

With the MAC and the MWC shut down, the G5 has quickly become the G3. It also means 26 of the 130 FBS programs will not play football this fall.


Earlier Monday


What’s going on at UCF?

Workouts and meetings. That much we know.

However, I later learned that a full team meeting wasn’t held today. Just position and special teams meetings.


Following in Lawrence’s footsteps, a handful of AAC players posted a mission statement that was very similar to what the Power 5 representatives unveiled at around midnight.

Memphis quarterback Brady White, Houston wide receiver Marquez Stevenson and USF cornerback KJ Salis collaborated with other AAC players in developing the statement. As of 5 p.m. Monday, no UCF Knights players have retweeted or mentioned the statement on Twitter.


Meanwhile, the American Athletic Conference isn’t ready to make any moves either — right now.


Some Big Ten players and coaches have expressed their wish for a fall season in spite of today’s reports.

Perhaps no one raised more eyebrows with their words than Scott Frost: If we don’t play a Big Ten schedule, “[W]e’re prepared to look for other options.”

That seems like quite the torpedo across the Big Ten’s bow from the former UCF coach.


While the Big Ten is apparently mere hours away from going on the record with its decision to cancel, the SEC is in no hurry, according to commissioner Greg Sankey.


Old Dominion became the first Conference USA team to pull the plug.

On the heels of the MAC’s shutdown on Saturday, this means that 14 of the 130 FBS programs have officially called off fall football, as of Monday evening.


A Big Ten Spokesman refuted the Free Press’ report about a vote.

But one of the reporters on the story said the Big Ten was still expected to announce the cancellation Tuesday.

As if this whole fiasco didn’t contain enough uncertainty already.


On Monday morning, Big Ten presidents reportedly voted, 12-2, to cancel fall football Monday morning, according to the Detroit Free Press and radio show host Dan Patrick.

Patrick was also told that the Big Ten and the Pac-12 would officially cancel their seasons Tuesday.


The college football world was rocked in the first minutes of Monday, when Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence released this post on Twitter:

Lawrence and players representatives from each of the Power 5 conferences solidified their desire to play football this fall and called for, most notably, the creation of a college football players union.

That midnight post is what kicked off what has been a wild day.