Report: Big Ten Will Play a Conference-Only Football Schedule This Fall

By RLR Staff on July 9, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Sep 7, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; A general view of the Big Ten logo prior to the game between the Buffalo Bulls and the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
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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.

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.

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..."

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