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Big Ten announces cancellation of fall sports as a result of COVID-19



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The Big Ten announced Tuesday it will cancel the fall sports season, including football, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward," said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.

The Detroit Free Press broke the news Monday, and is now confirmed by the Big Ten's formal announcement.

The decision comes after a series of meetings among Big Ten presidents and other conference leaders over the last week. Smaller conferences canceled their seasons last week as well, though the Big Ten is the first of the Power 5 to halt sports this fall.

This all comes just several days after the Big Ten announced its revised football season schedule, and IU announced its plans to allow season ticket holders and students into the stadium.

Over the course of the summer, there have been slow steps to re-open athletic facilities with voluntary workouts. IU reached the second stage of its reopening plan, which included football as well as men's and women's basketball workouts.

However, IU was one of many programs across the country that had to pause workouts over the summer because of positive COVID-19 tests. IU football had played five days of fall camp.

On Saturday, the third day of camp and one month from the first games, the Big Ten announced that practices would be conducted with only helmets and no pads. IU did practice with pads Saturday, as the announcement came in the middle of practice.

It was the first step by the Big Ten in rolling back football activities before canceling it entirely.

The cancellation calls into question athletic department budgets with football providing a significant portion of funding for most programs. Many smaller schools have had to cut non-revenue sports to save finances.

Both former IU athletic director Fred Glass and current athletic director Scott Dolson have said eliminating programs is not being discussed, but that came before the cancellation of fall sports.

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