Irresistable Force Or Immovable Object? Conferences Clash On Play Vs. Postpone

Decisions by the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences to postpone their fall sports seasons sets up a conflict that can best be described as one of titanic proportions. Will those two leagues go it alone among the Power 5 in trying to play football, as well as other fall sports, in the spring, or will the Big 12, ACC and SEC fall to what might be an irreversible momentum swing?

As of Tuesday evening, indications were, though certainly not unanimous or concrete, that the ACC and SEC were leaning toward trying to play fall sports in their original windows. The Big 12 was viewed as being a bit more on the fence, though not necessarily swayed by the decisions of other leagues. The Big 12, whose board of directors was scheduled to meet on a Tuesday evening teleconference, will get the latest input from the members’ athletic directors as well as medical professionals who have helped shape best practice safety protocols and provided guidance and help throughout the pandemic.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby recently noted that the league’s medical panel has not given any indication that it is unsafe to play football this year. Clearly, the Big Ten’s group disagreed with that assessment. The SEC’s health professionals were reportedly more aligned with the Big 12’s view, as commissioner Greg Sankey noted recently that his league’s medical group had given the go-ahead for play, at least for now.


— The decisions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 put another dagger in the efforts of some league commissioners, including those of Bowlsby, to get all of the Power 5 leagues working, if not in perfect synchronization, at least in common directions. Both of those leagues acted independently (or perhaps only in tandem with each other) in announcing conference-only football schedules for this fall earlier this summer and in pulling the plug on their seasons today.

That’s despite the efforts of Bowlsby, who on the day the Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball conference tournaments were cancelled back in March, noted that it would be important for the Power 5 to work together with common goals in mind. That has been a frequent talking point of his throughout this summer of strife, but it clearly hasn’t happened.

Random thought: If the Power 5 leagues can’t coordinate on even one decision\task such as this, why does anyone think they could break away from the NCAA and form their own governing body without all of the same problems that have been exhibited over the past few weeks?

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— It is important not to stamp the Big 12 as a “deciding vote” in the fate of fall football in 2020, although it could carry a good  bit of weight. The SEC and ACC could decide to stick it out on their own if the Big 12 postpones fall sports, or they could decide that trying to go it alone isn’t practical. Several other factors are involved there, including broadcast contracts, as well as …

— Championships and bowls. If leagues split between playing in the fall and spring, would some bowls move to the spring? Would their contracts allow them to take schools from a non-contracted league if that league isn’t playing? (That seems likely.) Would the CFP only involve teams playing in the fall? Many of these questions will be addressed once decisions are made by the remaining three leagues.

— Finally, it’s important to note that even on this relatively narrow decision, the Big Ten and Pac-12 couldn’t function in lockstep. The Big Ten postponed only fall sports to the spring, while the Pac-12 pushed every competition, including those of “winter” sports that have games in November and December, back until at least Jan. 1, 2021. That includes basketball — which is another huge money-maker and attention-grabber on the sports scene.

The Pac-12 was at least consistent in that it decided to cancel all competitions over the same timeframe. The Big Ten, despite its insistence that it was making its decision for player safety, did not.

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    Decisions by the Big 10 and Pac-12 conferences to postpone their fall sports seasons sets up a conflict that can best be described as one of titanic p
    [See the full post at: Irresistable Force Or Immovable Object? Conferences Clash On Play Vs. Postpone]


    It’s a mess of a situation.  Thing is, no one has any idea whether things will be better in the spring.


    Nice breakdown Kevin.  I’ll find the next week as an evolving drama with the remaining 3 conferences and the ensuing jockeying of things like bowls.

    1. I’m interested in the why choice of  using January 1 as a starting point for winter sports.  There truly isn’t a special science that suggests things will be better based on the new calendar year.  I would think that they should have issued a wait and see scenario for winter sports.
    2. Wasn’t the PAC 12 discussing offering loans to conference teams to weather the loss of not playing football in the fall?  If this was/is a reality did that become a deciding factor in cancelling?
    3. The budget numbers are downright frightening if there’s no football and delayed basketball as you mentioned in another article.  I can’t imagine the stress at this time for Lyons. There isn’t a donor or group of donors that would make up that deficit in reality.  Do you think the athletic department will devise a Powerball lottery strategy……?

    Just some thoughts.


    Rip – well, that column was relevant for about 15 minutes! A couple of responses:

    1) I found that a weird distinction too. Maybe it was set as a potential restart date, so some fall and winter sports that are played indoors could get in some games, or practices for football could resume. I read it more that they said nothing could be played at least until Jan 1, not that there would be a firm restart on Jan. 1.

    2) Not exactly. The league doesn’t have any money to pass out like that. What they were talking about was obtaining a loan with the backing of all league members (to get a more favorable interest rate?) and then providing that to league schools. But that was just a discussion item.

    BTW we raised that possibility with Shane Lyons in our exclusive interview with him as to whether or not WVU or the Big 12 might investigate a loan. His answer, and many others, are rolling out in our series of articles over the next week or so.

    3) Yep, it’s scary stuff. And not trying to overemphasize that or make it sound like a doomsday scenario. If the Big 12 can pull off a FB season this year, then some of that is mitigated, but it’s still going to be a hole that will take a number of years to dig out of. At minimum, I would think facilities renovations past those currently underway will be halted. There’s not really a way to cut any sports, but I can definitely see big trips being cancelled, like the overseas ones that teams can take once every four years, or longer non-conference contest trips.

    That’s not enough to make it all up, though, especially with Learfield IMG College looking to renoegotiate their agreements with the many schools where it owns broadcast rights.

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Home Page forums Irresistable Force Or Immovable Object? Conferences Clash On Play Vs. Postpone

Home Page forums Irresistable Force Or Immovable Object? Conferences Clash On Play Vs. Postpone