It was a busy weekend for decision makers in college athletics, as ESPN reports that the commissioners of the Power 5 conferences held an emergency meeting Sunday amid growing concerns that the fall sports season may be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The commissioners’ meeting was reportedly to discuss coordination in the event that university presidents and chancellors at their institutions voted in favor of canceling or postponing fall sports. A majority of Big Ten presidents have reportedly indicated that they would vote to postpone football season to the spring — though no formal action has been taken in that direction yet.
Already, the University of Connecticut has announced that it would cancel football this season, and the Mid-American Conference on Saturday became the first FBS conference to officially postpone all fall sports. Big Ten presidents reportedly wanted to gauge whether their colleagues in other conferences would make similar decisions if they indeed voted to postpone or cancel.
Multiple reports have described the postponement or cancellation of the fall sports season as an inevitability.
"I'm of the opinion it's when, not if [the 2020 season is canceled]," one Power 5 AD told CBS Sports. "[The MAC announcement] adds more momentum to the finish line. I think everyone's medical group is now all telling them the same thing. We all keep having the same conversations."
"Nobody wanted to be the first to do it," a Power 5 coach told ESPN, "and now nobody will want to be the last."
In the coming days, reports indicate that either the Big Ten or the Pac-12 Conference will be the first to formally announce a decision to postpone or cancel.
“The Pac-12 will be next and then the Big Ten,” a second Power 5 AD told CBS Sports, adding, “With California being so prominent [with the coronavirus], I see the Pac-12 getting out there next."
As one Power 5 administrator put it to ESPN: "It feels like no one wants to, but it's reaching the point where someone is going to have to."