Earlier this afternoon, the Big Ten announced that it would play only conference opponents this fall for all sports, including college football. The decision is the first from a major conference and comes on the heels of the Ivy League deciding it would cancel all fall sports. For the West Virginia Mountaineers, this means that their third football game of the year, against the rival Maryland Terrapins is cancelled.
The decision by the Big Ten is likely to cause a major ripple throughout collegiate athletics and you can expect the other conferences to follow suit. Rumors are swirling that the Pac-12 will also announce a similar model.
Right now, West Virginia’s game against Maryland is cancelled, but there are other issues at play. How will the teams be compensated? Will this be an insurance payment, similar to the North Carolina State game that was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence, or will Maryland be required to pony up? What about the “marquee” game against Florida State if the ACC decides before the Big 12 that they will only play conference opponents?
How will the NCAA and college athletics handle seeding for playoffs? What happens if there are multiple undefeated teams? Can football even be played?
College football in 2020 is shifting and right now, athletic directors are just trying to stay afloat.