With less than two months until the scheduled start of the 2020 college football season and the coronavirus pandemic raging across the United States, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby feels "it's a little early" for the league to make a decision about playing a conference-only schedule this year. Instead, Bowlsby says the Big 12 is still considering all available options.
"We need to do what our doctors and our scientists are telling us, which is move slowly ahead and constantly reevaluate," Bowlsby told CBS Sports on Thursday. "The virus is going to decide whether we're ready and able to play."
In fact, Bowlsby was a bit perturbed that the Big Ten announced it will move to a conference-only schedule in 2020 if it plays college football at all this season. The league made that decision after the FBS commissioners met by phone Thursday morning.
"[Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren] never gave any indication that this is what they were going to do," Bowlsby said. "In fact, he told us this morning at some length that he was not going to surprise anybody and that he would get to us in advance."
The Big 12 lost only two Big Ten nonconference games -- Iowa State at Iowa and Maryland at West Virginia -- amid the move.
"The only advantage to [a conference-only schedule] is you can spread the games out over more weeks," Bowlsby said. "It doesn't mean you're going to start your schedule the first week of October. You're going to try to start it on time and spread it out so you have more time to recover and more time to get over outbreaks. For whatever reason, the Big Ten felt like they wanted to go to it right now."
A Big 12 conference-only schedule was developed eight weeks ago by the league as a contingency, Bowlsby said. That doesn't mean the Big 12 is ready to make that move. In fact, a league source portrayed the its stance as, "We want to play as many games as we can."
Don't expect any news from the Big 12 until at least next week. The conference's athletic directors are scheduled to meet on Tuesday during their regularly scheduled call. Bowlsby said that timeline could change if his ADs feel an urgency to speak before then.
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