Covid-19 delivers blow to college sports as Big Ten, Pac 12 cancel football despite players’ plea to play

Indiana defeats Purdue
West Lafayette, Indiana: Indiana players celebrate after defeating Purdue 44-41 in double overtime at Ross-Ade Stadium to win the Old Oaken Bucket, November, 2019. Thomas J. Russo / USA Today Sports
Sports took a big hit today after members of the Power 5 conferences announced they would cancel their 2020 football seasons because of Covid-19.

The Big 10 and Pac 12 decision not to move forward with football leaves the sports world waiting with bated breath as the SEC (Southeastern Conference), ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference), and the Big 12 decide whether to postpone their seasons.

Some conferences, namely the MEAC and the SWAC, decided weeks ago to cancel fall football, opting to focus on spring play in hopes that the spread of the coronavirus will have slowed or a vaccine will be available by early 2021.

The MEAC and the SWAC chose to skip the 2020 season in part because the Power 5 decided to only participate in in-conference games to prevent the virus’ spread. The move would have financially strained the MEAC and the SWAC since they rely heavily on games with teams in the larger conferences like the Power 5.

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. David Platt / Clemson Athletics
Players had rallied behind the hashtag #WeWantoPlay, started by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, in hopes of influencing the official decision and to let fans and coaches know they want to play out the season despite. But the campaign didn’t bare fruit. At least for members of the Big 10 and Pac 12.

Alabama head football coach Nick Saban supported the player’s movement, “I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban told ESPN. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2 percent positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of the July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

Stacey Mickles

Stacey Mickles is a native of Birmingham, AL and has worked as a lifestyle reporter and sports writer over the years.

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