Old Dominion on Monday became the second individual FBS team to decide against playing college football or any fall sports in 2020 over health and safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Monarchs, who play in Conference USA, are the first program that is a conference member to cancel its season individually.
"We concluded that the season -- including travel and competition -- posed too great a risk for our student-athletes," ODU president John R. Broderick said. "I know many on- and off-campus will be disappointed, but we must prioritize the health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans."
UConn became the first FBS program to cancel its fall sports season last Wednesday. The MAC on Saturday became the first FBS conference to announce it would not pursue a college football season in 2020.
"As we continue to navigate these uncertain times, our staff will continue to find creative and safe ways to develop our players," first-year coach Ricky Rhane said. "The health and safety of our players will remain a priority for our football program and our University."
What happens within Conference USA now? That remains to be seen.
Conference USA announced last week that the conference plans to play all conference games as scheduled and that the schools have their own discretion in scheduling up to four nonconference games. The Conference USA Championship Game is scheduled as planned on Dec. 5, but it could be pushed back based on variables presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig doesn't see the "bubble" plan employed by professional leagues as something that would work within the conference.
"We're not like the NBA," he said. "We can't put our athletes and coaches and fans in a bubble, and we don't have unlimited resources."
The Power Five conferences are in regular meetings to determine whether playing college football in fall 2020 is viable, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. Two prominent Power Five athletic directors told Dodd on Saturday that cancellation of the 2020 season is "inevitable."