Update as of 8/12 at 2:58 p.m.:
The Big 12 is still on course to play the 2020 fall football season after meetings with the conference’s Board of Directors and athletic directors Tuesday, commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a Wednesday teleconference.
“Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome,” Bowlsby said in a statement Wednesday.
The Big 12 released its revised conference schedule Wednesday morning, confirming that Texas will play its annual matchup against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Bowlsby said that nonconference opponents will adhere to Big 12 COVID-19 testing standards. The season is scheduled to kick off Sept. 26.
“I had been very hopeful that the Big 12 would come to this decision,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said in a press release. “When the conference comes out and says, ‘We’re committed to finding every way possible that we can play this season,’ I think that gives (the players) a lot of pride, and it gives them a lot of confidence that, if they come out here and do what they’re supposed to do, they’re going to get to play this great game that they love.”
Bowlsby said the Big 12 met with two student-athletes from each school in making the decision, in addition to its medical advisers.
“I think it’s great that the Big 12 is continuing with fall sports right now,” junior safety Caden Sterns said in a press release. “We want to play, so to have that schedule, and to see the structure of what it’s going to look like, is relieving for us as players.”
He said the Big 12 will continue to meet with its medical advisers moving forward and will pivot when they warn things could go “off the tracks” in regard to COVID-19.
“Our medical professionals have said go forward, move slowly, make small adjustments,” Bowlsby said. “They’ve told us it’s safe to move forward on that basis.”
Bowlsby said he did not know how many positive COVID-19 tests it would take to cancel or postpone a game, and canceling games could be decided by a variety of factors, such as how many players at a certain position are infected and when games could be rescheduled to.
A day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences both said they would consider moving their seasons to the spring, Bowlsby said spring football is not his first choice and he would not move the season to the spring preemptively.
“I don’t think there’s any indication that (safety) is more certain in the spring than it would be in the fall,” Bowlsby said.
Big 12 Board of Directors to move forward with fall season, reports say
The Big 12 Board of Directors decided to move forward with plans to play the 2020 fall football season after a meeting with its medical advisers Tuesday evening, according to a report from the Austin American-Statesman.
The Big 12 was close to releasing its conference schedule but now plans to release a revised version soon, ESPN reported. A meeting among Big 12 university athletic directors is set for late Tuesday to discuss the fall football season, according to ESPN. The news was first reported by SoonerScoop.
“Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement Wednesday.
The report comes hours after the Big Ten and Pac-12 elected to cancel fall sports and the ACC and SEC said they intend to play fall football.
The Big Ten canceled fall sports after the conference discovered that at least 10 players had the rare heart condition myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can cause cardiac arrest and heart damage. The condition has been linked to COVID-19 more frequently than other viruses, medical experts say.
Texas head coach Tom Herman said Friday he “hasn’t put a percentage on his confidence level” in UT’s ability to play the 10-game season the Big 12 adopted Aug. 3.
Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in an email to season ticket holders July 20 that UT planned to fill Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium to 50% capacity. In a July 29 statement, UT Interim President Jay Hartzell said the University was exploring filling the stadium at a 25% capacity. Texas Athletics later stated it would require masks and mobile ticketing as part of the safety measures it was installing in DKR.
Still, the fates and plausibility of fall football for the Big 12, SEC and ACC are uncertain. It is unclear how the NCAA would conduct fall championships without two of the Power Five conferences.
This is a developing story. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.