Big Ten officially announces postponement of fall football; myocarditis reportedly greatly influenced decision

Big Ten officially announces postponement of fall football; myocarditis reportedly greatly influenced decision
The Big Ten logo is seen on the field before an NCAA college football game between Iowa and Miami of Ohio, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Source: Charlie Neibergall)

ROSEMONT, Ill. (WAFB) - The Big Ten has officially become the first Power Five conference to decide not to play this fall because of health safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials said they relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, along with other factors to reach this decision.

CBSSports.com reported myocarditis emerged as a significant health concern that greatly influenced the Big Ten’s decision. It is a heart condition that can reduce the heart’s ability to pump, causing rapid or abnormal heartbeat. At least 15 Big Ten players have been left with myocarditis after contracting COVID-19, the report stated it was learned from a high-ranking source within the Big Ten.

“Myocarditis is the ballgame right now,” the source said. “Myocarditis is the major issue they’re looking at. … Between the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, that’s what is really driving the push to push this off to spring.”

“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.

“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “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.”

The NCAA has said infected persons “of any age” with underlying heart conditions are at risk.

Earlier, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told the “Dan Patrick Show” that the conference’s medical advisory group has given the SEC presidents permission to move forward with preparing for the college football season this fall.

Football, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball are all affected by the Big Ten’s decision.

Officials said the postponement includes all regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments.

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