AMES — The Big 12 Conference was many things on Tuesday.
It was the linchpin, keystone or the most perilous section of the Rube Goldberg Machine that currently is college athletics.
Tuesday night, Big 12 presidents decided to allow the conference to move toward a fall season, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel.
Eddie Radosevich of Rivals reported that the revived schedule will be released after approval from the athletics directors. The Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences already voted to postpone their college football seasons because of the coronavirus and the health and safety questions that still surround it.
Members of the SEC and ACC have been vocal about wanting to play.
While the ACC wanted to play, it released a statement before the Big 12 decision that noted, in part, “we understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information and the landscape evolves.”
If the Big 12 decided not to have fall sports, that would have left just the ACC and SEC as the only two power conferences to play fall sports, which could be perceived as bad optics and likely lead the ACC to fall in line and leaving the SEC with a decision to make.
The SEC also came out with a statement before the Big 12’s decision that noted, in part, “we will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, education and care for our student-athletes every day.”
The Big 12 decided on Aug. 3 to go to a conference-only, plus one non-conference game, schedule. But after the decisions from the MAC, Mountain West, Big Ten and Pac-12 to postpone fall sports, the Big 12’s situation became murky.
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Tuesday’s decision by the presidents makes the landscape clearer. In the Aug. 3 news release from the Big 12 about its new schedule format, the season would start in mid-to-late September. Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard said on Aug. 6 that he expects the nonconference game to be on Sept. 12 and expects Big 12 play to start Sept. 26.