Report: The Big Ten Plans To Play A Conference-Only Schedule Across All Sports This Fall

The dominos keep falling for college football. A day after the Ivy League decided to postpone or cancel its entire fall sports calendar, a report from Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic indicates the Big Ten will erase all non-conference games from its football schedule in an effort to solidify and delay the calendar.

Auerbach’s initial report was soon confirmed by ESPN, which noted that this does not just apply for football — all fall sports will move to conference-only schedules.

Much like the NFL canceling two preseason games, this can be seen as one baby step toward a more significant restructuring of the football season and the NCAA’s fall sports calendar more broadly. It makes sense as a logical starting point: Playing only in-conference means less travel, which means less regional overlap and cross-contamination as well as fewer games overall. And logistically, one commissioner overseeing the whole schedule means changes are easier to account for and require less consensus.

However, unless a wholesale upheaval of the schedule soon follows, the NCAA will lose out on what could have been some awesome matchups — football especially hurts due to the conference’s standing as one of the premier leagues in the sport, meaning we’re losing games like Michigan at Washington on Sept. 5 or Ohio State at Oregon and Iowa State at Iowa on Sept. 12.

Per ESPN: “Some Big Ten schools preferred playing only conference foes with one additional non-league game, which would preserve some of its marquee non-Big Ten matchups, but there is overwhelming support for a 10-game conference-only schedule, the sources said.”

This is clearly a big dent in the NCAA’s hopes to hold sports this fall, but perhaps there remains time to etch out a plan that is financially viable for all, with the possibility remaining for a push back to the spring.