KEY POINTS

  • Power 5 conference commissioners held an emergency meeting to discuss the possibility of a canceled or postponed 2020 football season
  • The Big 10 conference reportedly voted 12-2 to cancel the 2020 fall season while the ACC, SEC, PAC-12, and Big 12 have not indicated one way or another
  • Players have taken the opportunity to come together in an effort to give athletes a larger voice with #WeAreUnited and #WeWantToPlay

College football now seems have no more chance than a Hail Mary pass as the Big 10  voted to cancel the fall season, according to news reports. The Detroit Free Press said the school's presidents voted 12-2 to cancel the season, with Iowa and Nebraska being the only two dissenting votes. A formal announcement is expected to be made on Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear if the Big Ten planned to play football in the spring.

The other Power 5 conferences  – the ACC, PAC-12, SEC, and Big 12 – have not made a decision, according to sources. 

An emergency meeting was held on Sunday among the Power 5 commissioners to discuss a potential postponement or cancellation. Sources told ESPN a major topic of the meeting was possible collaborations if conference presidents decided to cancel or postpone fall sports, but no decisions were reached.

As of Monday, however, the other four have not been as forward with their plans for the fall. This has raised concerns from some school officials who said conference officials need to be clear about their plans.

But source told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde that "attempts to salvage the fall 2020 college football season are all but over," Forde wrote in a tweet. "'It’s gotten to a critical stage,' one told SI. 'I think all of us will be meeting with our boards in the coming days. We have work to do that is no fun.'"

The Mid-American Conference, not one of the Power 5, has postponed all fall sports until at least spring.

School administrators said they need to be clear about their plans.

“My view is if we change course, we better be able to articulate the reason for doing so to our student-athletes,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN. Notre Dame’s football program joined the ACC in 2020 due to pressure placed on the school by the coronavirus pandemic.

Swarbrick’s thoughts were echoed at West Virginia University.

“No one has talked about a plan if the season is canceled,” West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons said. “If it's canceled, we need to be able to give clear direction at that time, as opposed to saying, 'We don't know.'”

Despite the plans, or apparent lack thereof, many student-athletes have taken the opportunity to try to give players a larger voice in college athletics. The group issued a statement on Twitter Sunday, showing their support for #WeAreUnited while also expressing a desire to play the 2020 season in a safe environment with #WeWantToPlay.

Stanford defensive lineman Dylan Boles said the media had been trying to pit the two groups against each other, as many #WeAreUnited supporters have opted to sit-out should there be a 2020 season. However, Boles said this was done to stoke animosity and the two sides worked together to outline unified desires.

“We got down to talking and agreed that both of our goals are aligned with each other,” Boles told ESPN. “We all want to play this year. We just want to make sure players have a say in this thing.”

Boles said the group of players held a Zoom call to draft their statement. The call included Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Alabama running back Najee Harris, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, and Oregon's Penei Sewell.

“It was a long time coming,” Boles said. “It was inevitable. It was just a matter of how quick we could pull it off. We were racing against the clock. We all want to play; we just want to do it the right way.”

Texas Longhorns college football The Texas Longhorns celebrate a touchdown against the California Golden Bears in the first quarter on September 17, 2016 at California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California. Photo: Brian Bahr/Getty Images