Ohio State football is officially canceled this fall. The Big Ten Conference announced that “All regular-season contests and Big Ten Championships and Tournaments, due to ongoing health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Officials said multiple factors figured into the decision and they relied on the advice of medical experts in the field. “Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro.
Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren added. “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.”
Officials canceled the fall seasons for several other college sports. Also affected are:
- men’s and women’s cross country
- field hockey
- men’s and women’s soccer
- women’s volleyball
Officials offered some hope that the football season might just be postponed until spring. However, they did not make any promises. “The Big Ten Conference will continue to evaluate a number of options regarding these sports, including the possibility of competition in the spring. Decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.”
The economic fallout of the cancellation is hard to measure. Bars and restaurants, especially those near universities are sure to suffer from the lack of business. Servers and bartenders will lose out on tip income. The cancellation will also be a major blow to television and radio stations that count on the income from commercials that air in the game. Stations are already struggling as the COVID-19 economic fallout causes businesses to cut back on advertising.
The thousands of individuals who work with sports networks to broadcast the games will be out of work for an entire season. No word on if the trainers, coaches, and other university sports personnel will be furloughed.