Ian Patrick, FISM News
The Big 12 Conference, one of the most powerful conferences in U.S. college football that includes University of Oklahoma and University of Texas at Austin, will proceed with its fall sports season, the collegiate athletic league said on Wednesday. The Big 12 said it was confident sports could be conducted safely with enhanced measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.
“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,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
Pac-12 and Big Ten, two other “Power Five” conferences, said on Tuesday that they would each postpone their upcoming football seasons, citing the continuing coronavirus outbreak. Pac-12 won’t have any sports competitions for the remainder of 2020 while Big Ten is pushing back its entire fall sports lineup.
The upheaval across the multibillion-dollar college football industry has widespread ramifications for broadcasters, advertisers and small businesses in college towns across the country that rely on the weekly American cultural ritual for a steady stream of income.
Big 12 said that conference play would start Sept. 26, with the Big 12 Championship Game “tentatively scheduled” for Dec. 12. Stadium capacity will be left up to individual schools to determine. The conference said that participants in “high-contact” sports – including football, soccer and volleyball – would be subjected to three COVID-19 tests per week.
“If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course.”
Rounding out the “Power Five” conferences, the Atlantic Coast Conference said Tuesday it will “continue to make decisions based on medical advice,” while the Southeastern Conference said it “will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports.”
Sourced from Reuters, edited for brevity