Due to the ongoing global Covid-19 crisis, the Big Ten is reportedly moving to a conference-only football schedule for this season. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic was the first to report the news.
The Big Ten is expected to announce today that it will go with a conference-only football schedule for this fall, a person with direct knowledge situation tells @TheAthleticCFB.— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) July 9, 2020
Players across the country were able to begin returning to their respective campuses in June, but numerous positive tests for coronavirus have led many schools to shut down the voluntary workouts. On Wednesday, Ohio State became the first Big Ten program to cease these sessions after an unspecified number of athletes returned positive tests.
Penn State football players began returning to campus in early-June. Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour indicated that as of the end of last month, zero Nittany Lion student-athletes had tested positive.
The elimination of non-conference games means that Penn State's first ever trip to Blacksburg to face the Virginia Tech Hokies is off. The Hokies are scheduled to visit Happy Valley for the first time in 2025. The Lions will also no longer host Kent State to open the season, nor San Jose State in mid-September.
There has been no indication what this conference only schedule will look like. Penn State had been scheduled to host Northwestern, Iowa, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Maryland, with road tilts at Michigan, Indiana, Nebraska, and Rutgers.
Update (3:50 p.m.): According to Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde, the revised schedule will feature 10 conference games.
Can confirm @NicoleAuerbach report that Big Ten is going to a conference-only season, playing 10 games.— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) July 9, 2020
Update (4:00 p.m.): The Big Ten has confirmed that all fall sports, including football, will play a conference-only schedule. Details on those actual schedules will follow at a later date. The entire statement can be read here. The statement includes this notable section:
"The Big Ten Conference announced today that if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports..."