On Tuesday (August 11), the Big Ten conference officially announced that it had decided to cancel all fall sports. However, it was also noted that the conference is hoping to reschedule fall-sport competitions in the spring of 2021. The hopeful nature of the conference commissioner Kevin Warren has proven unconvincing for multiple football coaches in the Big Ten conference. Most notably, Nebraska coach Scott Frost and Ohio State coach Ryan Day have both suggested that they are looking at the possibility of playing outside of the Big Ten to salvage some sort of fall season. This lack of unity has only added to the list of fires that Warren, the rookie commissioner of league, now needs to put out.
College towns stare down a season of uncertainty
In addition to angering players and coaches, business owners in college towns are less than pleased with the Big Ten’s decision to say the least. For many businesses in towns like State College, Pennsylvania, sports bring in the customers that they rely on to survive. The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, a nonprofit organization that aims “to develop, promote, and engage in travel related activities and coordinate visitor services designed to enhance the economic activity and quality of life within the county and thereby contribute to the commonwealth” CEO Fritz Smith spoke of this issue with Yahoo Sports (Source: HVAB). He stated that Penn State’s football season is “the lifeblood of this community” and that it is “probably the single biggest economic driver” for those living in the town of State College (Source: Yahoo Sports).
The Big Ten has maintained that their decision was made purely with the health of all their athletes in mind. Regardless of this positive sentiment, the negative impacts of cancelling fall sports is still being felt throughout the conference. Hopefully, some form of a season can be provided for the athletes, coaches, and businesses that rely on visiting alma mater to survive, regardless of when it comes to fruition.