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No Penn State Football This Fall: Big Ten Announces It's Postponing Fall Sports Due To COVID-19

Emily Reddy
Beaver Stadium filled with Nittany Lions fans. Pointing to COVID-19, the Big Ten announced the postponement of the fall sports season on Aug. 11, 2020.

Pointing to health concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding them, the Big Ten announced Tuesday afternoon that it is postponing fall 2020 sports, including football.

“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University president.

Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour issued a statement, saying she supports the decision, but knows it will have an impact on athletes and the community.

"A piece of our student-athletes’ collegiate experience has been taken from them for reasons beyond their control and for that, I am heartbroken. I do know our student-athletes are a resilient bunch and will handle today’s news with the same resolve as our winter and spring student-athletes did and be better for it in the end," Barbour said.

"We also cannot ignore the impact this will have on our community at large, including our local businesses," she said. 

Along with football, the decision means women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball are postponed.

In its news release, the Big Ten Conference said it "will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated."

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said: "As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten sports medicine committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall."

Penn State had already announced it was planning to play home games in an empty Beaver Stadium, in keeping with Gov. Tom Wolf's orders of limiting outdoor gatherings to 250 people or fewer.

Read more from our partners, WPSU.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.
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