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That’s a wrap: Big Ten punts fall season

Spring football, anyone? No? Maybe? Mehhhh

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Indiana v Tennessee Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

We won’t get to see Michael Penix sling it around the yard.

We won’t get to see Stevie Scott roll his way to 2,000 yards.

We won’t even get to see rutger attempt to throw for more than a single yard.

The Big Ten has nixed plans for a fall sports season.

Citing health and safety concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league on Tuesday announced there will not be a 2020 football campaign for its 14 member schools. In doing so, the Big Ten became the first Power 5 conference to bring its upcoming sports calendar to a halt. Now, the league will look to squeeze its fall sports offerings, including football, into the spring.

That, however, won’t be an easy ask. Such a move will spark new conversations about the health and safety of participants, finances, athlete retention and logistics, and IU coach Tom Allen has already expressed hesitation with the idea of shoehorning two football seasons into a calendar year.

“My heart breaks for our players,” Allen said in a statement. “I couldn’t be prouder of the commitment and focus they have demonstrated from the start of this pandemic. They put in the work to get ready for a season. I love each and every one of them, and we will continue to support them and prepare them for what the future holds.”

Right now, that future is full of unknowns in Bloomington and beyond.

Without football revenue, Big Ten athletic departments will move forward without one of their primary sources of revenue. Football, alone, was responsible for $32.7 million of IU’s $43.6 million media rights payout during the last fiscal year, according to the Bloomington Herald-Times.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren provided little additional clarity during a televised interview with the league’s television arm, dodging specific questions related to both the conference’s decision and the path forward.

“When you look at this decision, we just believe collectively that there’s too much uncertainty at this point in time in our country to really encourage student-athletes to participate in fall sports,” Warren told Big Ten Network.

Shortly after the Big Ten came to its decision, the Pac-12 Conference announced it will postpone all sporting events through the end of the calendar year.

Indiana, which kicked off fall camp last Thursday, made it through four non-padded practices before the shutdown.

“I am heartbroken by today’s news of the postponement of the Big Ten fall sports schedule,” IU athletic director Scott Dolson said. “As a lifelong Hoosier and IU sports fan I am disappointed that we won’t be able to enjoy seeing our teams compete, but I am most devastated for our students. They invest an enormous amount of time, effort, and energy for the opportunity to represent IU on the field. But as difficult as it is to absorb, I am confident it is the right decision.”