Big 12 announces plans to play football in the fall

The Big 12 Conference on Wednesday announced that it will proceed with sports in the fall despite the coronavirus pandemic that prompted other major collegiate conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 to call off their respective sports seasons.

“Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we’ve seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions’ ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement on the plan to resume athletics.

“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.”

Both the Big 10 and Pac-12 called off their fall sports seasons earlier this week with both saying that football could possibly be played in the spring.

The decision from the Big 12 comes as the other two “Power 5” conferences, the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, reiterated on Wednesday their plans to move forward with their fall sports seasons.

“I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today. I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day.”

President Trump has called for conferences to move ahead with their fall sports seasons, citing the athletes that say “they want to play football.”

“I think you should play football,” Trump said this week in an appearance on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s program. “These are young, strong athletes. As you know, this disease has very little impact on young people, the immune system, and plus, they’re in great health. They’re in very good health. And I think you should play football. They want to play football.”

The Big 12, which consists of a number of schools in traditionally red states, will begin play on Sept. 26.

Tags Big 12 College football Coronavirus Donald Trump Sports and Politics

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