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Big Ten to cancel fall season

The Big Ten announced Tuesday it has canceled its fall season.

The conference will attempt to play in the spring.

“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,” commissioner Kevin Warren said. “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.

“We know how significant the student-athlete experience can be in shaping the future of the talented young women and men who compete in the Big Ten Conference. Although that knowledge made this a painstaking decision, it did not make it difficult. While I know our decision today will be disappointing in many ways for our thousands of student-athletes and their families, I am heartened and inspired by their resilience, their insightful and discerning thoughts, and their participation through our conversations to this point. Everyone associated with the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions is committed to getting everyone back to competition as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The news was anticipated as early as Saturday, as the wind began blowing in that direction shortly after the MAC became the first FBS conference to cancel its fall season. The Mountain West has since canceled its campaign, as have UConn, UMass and Old Dominion.

Dan Patrick and the Detroit Free Press reported the conference recorded a 12-2 vote over the weekend in favor of canceling, leading to a historic Monday in which coaches and players across the conference protested the league's impending decision. That effort culminated in the President joining the fray and Ohio State and Nebraska threatening to find a way to play even if the Big Ten cancels.

That effort, it's now clear, was not enough to sway the league's presidents.

Still, the 72-hour build up to today's announcement was indicative of massive communication issues within the conference. The Big Ten did not inform its Power 5 peers of its July 9 plan to move to a conference-only season, and it released its conference-only schedule just six days ago. That schedule began the weekend of Sept. 5, with three built in off weeks to account for anticipated disruptions.

Instead, the conference decided to trash the entire schedule before the first game could be played.

With the Big Ten out, it's widely expected the Pac-12 will follow suit, leaving just the SEC, Big 12, ACC, American, Conference USA and the Sun Belt.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.