When the Big Ten announced it was canceling its fall season, it said that it hoped to hold the season in the spring. Well, the conference might not even wait that long.
The Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel reports that the Big Ten has been working on a revised schedule that would begin in early January. The report cites multiple sources within the conference, saying that the Big Ten is now concentrating on starting the season as early as possible.
It's a report that coincides with Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour telling reporters earlier in the week that the league could release a new schedule within a week or so.
The reported reason the Big Ten has decided to start the season as soon as possible is that it wants to have its season finished before the NFL Draft, currently scheduled to begin on April 29 and end May 1. If the Big Ten were to push the season into the spring, the odds are many of the top players in the conference would opt out to prepare for their NFL futures. If the season is held earlier, it increases the chances of players like Justin Fields taking part.
There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered about how this would all happen only a few months after the Big Ten decided it was too dangerous to play this fall, or what the season would look like. The Journal Sentinel reports that it would not be a full season, and would more likely include eight games rather than the 10-game conference schedule planned for fall 2020.
There are also questions about how it would impact eligibility. There has been discussion in the college football world that, season or not, no player should lose a year of eligibility.
Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez has said that the conference wouldn't play "two full seasons" within the same calendar year for fear of the impact that could have on players physically.
A proposed eight-game schedule that began in the first week of January would run through the end of February and into the first week of March, depending on how many bye weeks would be allowed per team. Either way, the Big Ten Championship would likely occur in the first or second week of March, leaving as many as seven weeks between the end of the season and the NFL Draft.