Report: Conference-only schedule 'most likely option' for Big Ten fall sports

The proposal would reduce travel and allow more COVID-19 testing.
Publish date:

According to a report by ESPN, the Big Ten is considering using a conference-only schedule for sports this fall and is considered "the most likely outcome" per a source with knowledge of the discussions.

Such a decision would help the Big Ten reduce travel during the COVID-19 pandemic while also allowing the conference to help ensure that teams are being tested for the virus universally.

While the decision would affect all college athletics, the biggest change would be in the college football landscape where teams traditionally play non-conference games against top opponents to improve their resume for the college football playoff.

For the Gophers, that decision would increase their strength of schedule dramatically. Minnesota is currently slated to play three non-conference home games in 2020 against Florida Atlantic, Tennessee Tech and BYU. 

In addition, the Gophers' conference schedule also avoided games against traditional powers Ohio State and Michigan, which could be added if the Big Ten goes to a 10-game, conference only schedule. It could be assumed that a move would add one additional East division opponent to the slate, which could create a "luck of the draw" situation.

The fate of the 2020 college football season has been up in the air has teams have returned to campus to prepare. In June, Clemson had 37 football players test positive for COVID-19 and 13 players from the University of Texas football team tested positive shortly after returning to practice.

This has caused doubt as to whether a 2020 season would happen and while some believe a contingency plan could be to see games played in the spring of 2021, others such as the Ivy League have shut down fall sports completely for this upcoming season.

Next Up

Antoine Winfield Jr.

Watch: Gopher alums Antoine Winfield Jr., Tyler Johnson make key plays in Bucs' playoff win

The Minnesota greats had a pair of highlights as Tampa Bay advanced to the NFC Championship.


Crews respond to fire at Gertens in Inver Grove Heights

It's reported that a greenhouse on the grounds was on fire.

Marcus Carr

Why the Gophers could be in line for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament

The Gophers are done with a brutal stretch and are poised to make a run.

police tape

Authorities ID man fatally struck by 'errant bullet' in Willmar

The man was working in his garage when he was fatally shot.


1 dead, 1 critically injured in head-on crash on Highway 169

The State Patrol says driving impaired may have been a factor in the crash.

Richard Pitino

Gophers game against Nebraska postponed due to COVID outbreak

The Cornhuskers have had 12 members of its team test positive for COVID-19.

Bob Kroll

What Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll said in Sunday radio interview

Kroll said that once he's retired he'll go "radio silent."

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID update for Sunday, January 17

The health department provides updates daily at 11 a.m.

Sen. Julia Coleman

'No one's business': State senator calls out attack on her pregnancy

Sen. Julia Coleman represents Minnesota's District 47.

Willmar Police Department

'Errant bullet' goes through garage wall, kills Willmar man

The man was working in his garage when he was shot, witnesses said.


TCF Bank Stadium

Report: Big Ten considering 'pulling the plug' on fall sports

The report says the cancelation of the 2020 college football season is "inevitable."

Gophers, TCF Bank Stadium, rush the field

Are sports coming back too early from COVID-19?

A rash of positive tests and actions could derail seasons before they even start.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 9.43.19 AM

Big Ten postpones all fall sports seasons; spring games possible

COVID-19 safety concerns were too much for league presidents to overcome.

Gopher Football

Gophers to be without 20 players, 3 staff members vs. Purdue

The Gophers will be severely shorthanded due to injury and COVID-19.

P.J. Fleck, Gophers football

Gophers will play Wisconsin as part of Big Ten's Champions Week

College football's oldest rivalry will take place on Saturday.

Screen Shot 2019-11-10 at 9.43.19 AM

Dan Patrick reports Big Ten will 'cancel' the football season

The Gophers are scheduled to open the season in less than a month.