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College football reportedly closer to not happening this fall

According to several media outlets, there is deep concern about playing football in the middle of a pandemic.
Credit: AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
A pylon stands in the corner of an end zone at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Florida and Charleston Southern Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Commissioners of the Power 5 conferences are working to decide whether college football will be played this fall given concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, multiple media outlets report.

"It doesn't look good," a Power 5 athletic director told ESPN.

ESPN and CBS Sports report a postponement or cancellation of the season is "inevitable," with an athletic director telling CBS, "It's not fair what we're doing to our coaches and student-athletes...The sooner we can come to a finality, the better."

The Mid-American Conference on Saturday announced it would postpone its entire fall season, including football, until spring 2021. Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said it was a "miserable" decision to make but necessary to protect the health of student-athletes and others.

The "majority" of Big Ten presidents would vote to postpone the college football season, ESPN reports. They are said to have met Saturday and wanted to see what leaders from other conferences – including the AAC, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC – think of the idea.

"[The MAC announcement] adds more momentum to the finish line," an athletic director told CBS Sports. "I think everyone's medical group is now all telling them the same thing. We all keep having the same conversations."

Pete Thamel, a college football and basketball reporter with Yahoo Sports, tweeted Big Ten presidents and chancellors will speak Sunday night to talk about the months ahead.

It's not yet known when a decision about the season will come, he said.

The Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC moved to 10-game, conference-only football schedules earlier in recent weeks. The AAC recently announced it will allow its schools to play up to 12 games, with as many as four non-conference opponents allowed. 

Clemon Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence tweeted amid the several reports Sunday that he and other players want the season to continue. He and the hashtag "#WeWanttoPlay" trended on Twitter this evening.

Several teams have reported COVID-19 cases in the past month as players met for practice. At least 28 players and several more staff members of the Rutgers University football team tested positive for the virus. Elsewhere in the Big 10, the University of Michigan reported 35 cases among athletes across all sports, and Michigan State University has 30 cases.

"My view is if we change course, we better be able to articulate the reason for doing so to our student-athletes," Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN.

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