Divide Deepens as More Leagues Postpone Fall Sports

August 13, 2020

The rift that emerged Tuesday as two of the Power Five football conferences said they would not play sports this fall and the other three planned to continue widened Wednesday as several other sports leagues joined the overwhelming majority that will keep players sidelined this fall.

The Big East Conference, which plays Division I sports except for football, said it had reached its decision not to play fall sports after an "exhaustive review" that revealed "many unknowns surrounding testing availability, turnaround time and travel restrictions in our 11 locales," Commissioner Val Ackerman said. Ackerman said plans for men's and women's basketball -- the league's marquee sports -- remain "unaffected."

Several other leagues, including the Gulf South Conference, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and the Big South Conference, said they would not play this fall. The Big South's decision means that only three of the 13 leagues that play in the Football Championship Series division, the National Collegiate Athletic Association's second-highest level, are still on track to play this fall. (Note: This paragraph was updated from an earlier version to correct that most FCS conference will not play this fall.)

Tuesday's decisions by the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences not to play football this year were followed by announcements by the Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference saying that they would. Those five leagues make up the biggest players, talent-wise and money-wise, in college football. Officials of one of the remaining Football Bowl Subdivision conferences, the American Athletic Conference, said Wednesday that it was too early to make a final call.

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