Multiple reports on Monday suggested that the postponement of the upcoming Big Ten football season was imminent, with longtime sports anchor Dan Patrick citing a source who said the conference was expected to announce the cancellation of the season on Tuesday.
Patrick has updated his reporting Tuesday, saying "the latest I have is that the Big Ten is trying to delay, maybe cancel."
ESPN reported that Big Ten presidents were to meet Tuesday beginning at 9:30 a.m., with a number of solutions for fall sports possible, including pushing the football season to the spring or simply delaying the start of the season to Sept. 26. Minnesota is scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 at Michigan State.
When asked about the situation, a University of Minnesota spokesperson said head coach P.J. Fleck and athletics director Mark Coyle were unavailable for comment, and that inquiries should be directed at the Big Ten.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren, after unveiling the 10-game conference schedules last week, said there is "no guarantee that we will have fall sports or football season.”
But making the situation more complicated are Big Ten teams reportedly interested in teaming up with other Power 5 conference schools to play this fall.
Ohio State and Nebraska are two teams committed to playing this fall, according to USA Today. That begs the question: if the Big Ten postpones the season until spring, what will Ohio State, Nebraska and other conference teams do?
One problem with pushing games to the spring is increasing the chances of star players with 2021 NFL Draft hopes sitting out to avoid injuries that could lead to falling draft stocks. Would a spring season tempt Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan to sit out and instead prepare for the draft? No one knows, but questions like that that only complicate the situation.
Minnesota has already lost wide receiver Rashod Bateman. The wide receiver, projected by most to be a first-round pick next spring, announced that he's opting out of the 2020 season to focus on his health amid the coronavirus pandemic and to prepare for the NFL Draft.