The Big Ten’s plan to have a conference-only schedule during the college football season stunned many fans and left at least one U.S. senator upset.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, tweeted his disappointment Thursday after learning one of the top conferences in college football was changing up its schedule as the U.S. continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic with no real end in sight.
“Very disappointed by the Big Ten making a decision that non conference games can’t be played Don’t they realize the Cy-Hawk game is a lot more interesting than many big ten games?? Especially disappointed Iowa can’t play MY UNIVERSITY uni BIG DISAPPOINTMENT,” Grassley wrote.
The Big Ten, which made its determination after seeking proper medical advice, made the biggest decision yet by a power conference, and it said the plan would be applied only “if the conference is able to participate in fall sports.”
“As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate,” the Big Ten said in a statement.
The sports that will be affected by this decision include football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
“By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic,” the league said.
Summer athletic activities will remain voluntary in sports such as football. The Big Ten said its member schools will honor scholarships of athletes who choose not to compete in the upcoming academic year because of concerns about the coronavirus.
The schedules will be released at a later date.
The announcement came a day after the Ivy League Conference canceled sporting events until at least January.
Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.