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The Big Ten Conference announced Thursday it will not play non-conference games in football and several other sports this fall, the most dramatic move yet by a power conference because of the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The conference cited medical advice in making its decision and added ominously that the plan would be applied only “if the conference is able to participate in fall sports.”

 

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said it was “much easier if we’re just working with our Big Ten institutions” in terms of things like scheduling and traveling.

 

Warren told the Big Ten Network, quote “We may not have sports in the fall. We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten.

 

“So we just wanted to make sure that this was the next logical step to always rely on our medical experts to keep our student-athletes at the center of all of our decisions and make sure that they are as healthy as they possibly can be from a mental, a physical, and emotional health and wellness standpoint.”

 

There has been deep unease that the pandemic will deal a blow to fall sports after wiping out hundreds of games, including March Madness, this past spring. More than a dozen schools have reported positive tests for the virus among athletes in the past month but the bad news picked up this week as the Ivy League canceled all fall sports and Stanford announced it was cutting 11 varsity sports.

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