Big Ten’s Abrupt Decision to Cancel Non-Con Games Doesn’t Connect
Big Ten made a decision. They decided to cancel non-conference football games. Marquee matchups like Ohio State-Oregon, Wisconsin-Notre Dame, and others will not be happening this year. Sure, that’s disappointing from a fan’s perspective, but more so, it’s short-sighted in so many ways. College football played a ‘wait and see’ mentality and got burned in the worst way possible. With cases on the rise in different parts of the country, Big Ten went with a measure to keep everything in-house, but in reality, they should have discussed multiple contingencies for football. The non-conference could have been saved, although some marquee matchups would be gone.
How do you save it? One of my ideas that table is the Nebraska-Maryland bubble. Nebraska and Maryland are the two farthest schools from each other. They’re 1,802 miles apart. Big Ten could have set the non-conference radius at 1,800 miles if they’re worried about other sections of the country. They can keep the teams to the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic to appease everyone in the conference. If they do not fit within the Nebraska-Maryland ‘bubble’, find a new opponent. For example, Wisconsin would need to find a new opponent with Appalachian State. I bet a MAC school would fill that void. Bowling Green is missing out on 2.3 million dollars for its athletics department with no non-conference games. Something could have been done to save them.
Big Ten may have overreacted, we’ll see. The ACC could come out today and say something similar. The same for the Pac-12. But this seemed a bit forward versus saying something like we’re ‘considering all options at this point.’ Lay out all the potential ideas and see where it ends up in three weeks at the start of August. They could have done something like canceled neutral site games to avoid the spread. Instead, they shut down the whole thing with 40 days before college football starts for the Big Ten. A lot can change with COVID-19. What if things start flattening out again?
The problem is there are not enough adults at the NCAA. While they were swift with the NCAA Tournament back in March, they have done nothing to prepare for the Fall season. They almost acted like COVID-19 wasn’t a real thing. Why didn’t they come up with some universal protocols at every university? Tips for when there are positive tests and what’s the number that should lead to a shutdown. Everyone seems to be navigating on their own. Louisville shut down for two positive tests while Wisconsin trudged along with seven. It makes no sense.
This is only the beginning of a slew of college football news.