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Big Ten Moving to Conference-Only Model for All Sports This Fall

Written by:
Dan Shapiro
Published on:
Jul/09/2020

The Big Ten on Thursday announced it will be going to a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football.  This will help to reduce travel and the risk associated with Covid-19.


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"We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority," the Big Ten said in a statement.

"... By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic."

The news comes less than a day after the Ivy League announced it will not be offering sports this fall.

The conference also said it was working with the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee to finalize protocols for the upcoming fall seasons.

Some Big Ten schools preferred playing only conference foes in football with one additional nonleague game -- thus preserving some of the marquee non-Big Ten matchups -- but there was overwhelming support for a 10-game conference-only schedule, an ESPN source said.

ESPN also noted that the Big Ten's potential decision to play only conference opponents would affect 36 scheduled football opponents, 28 from the FBS and eight from the FCS. Six FBS schools -- Ball State, Bowling Green, BYU, Central Michigan, UConn and Northern Illinois -- are scheduled to play two Big Ten opponents this season.

The Big Ten would lose marquee nonconference matchups, including Michigan's road game at Washington on Sept. 5, Ohio State's trip to Oregon on Sept. 12, Michigan State's home game against Miami on Sept. 26 and Wisconsin's contest against Notre Dame at Lambeau Field on Oct. 3.

- Dan Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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