MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Big Ten and Pac-12 became the first Power 5 conferences to postpone their football seasons Tuesday.
As of print, six of the ten FBS conferences, including the SEC and The American, are still on for now.
"This is a holistic decision," Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren told the Big Ten Network. "There is too much uncertainty now for us to be comfortable."
Despite that determination, the SEC, ACC and reportedly the Big 12, will forge ahead with attempting to play. Three Group of 5 conferences, including The American, have not folded their plans yet. So until he is told otherwise, it is business as usual for Memphis head football coach Ryan Silverfield and his Tigers.
"I'm not going to hide away or shy away from what's occurring outside of our realm," Silverfield said after practice Tuesday. "But as far as I know, we're still playing on September 5, and that hasn't changed. We have to practice, we have to prepare. Arkansas State has a heck of program, and so we have to get ready for our season."
The Pac-12 released a medical document which outlined what they found to be "concerning medical issues at this time." Those concerns included the following:
- Community prevalence remains very high in much of the Pac-12 footprint and traveling to many places is likely unsafe, particularly on commercial aircraft.
- We are concerned about health outcomes related to the virus. Among these, there is new and evolving information regarding potential serious cardiac side effects in elite athletes. We do not have enough information to understand the short and long-term outcomes regarding these health issues.
- Testing capacity needs to increase to allow for more frequent testing, performed closer to game time, and with more rapid turn-around time to prevent spread of infection and enhance the safety of all student-athletes, coaches, and staff involved, particularly in situations where physical distancing and mask wearing cannot be maintained. This will require access to significant capacity of point-of-care testing and rapid turn-around time, which is currently very limited.
Whether or not any conferences play this fall, the 2020 season is one with a multitude of layers. Not only because of COVID-19 concerns, but also with players organizing. Tigers quarterback Brady White joined other American players in calling for a players association, and for the season to go on.
"We want to be playing football," White said. "We respect every decision and we recognize the severity of the situation, but like I said, we love this game and we want to play."