After announcing yesterday that all spring sports would be cancelled, the Big Ten has reconsidered and will instead suspend competition, including men’s baseball, until April 6, 2020 and will re-evaluate at that time–but it may not matter.
Here’s the announcement from the Big Ten:
The Big Ten has previously announced that in addition to canceling the Men’s Basketball Tournament it will be canceling all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year, and participation in all NCAA tournaments and competitions. The Conference also has announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.
The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A little background. Yesterday, the NCAA announced a cancellation of championship tourneys in all winter sports, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. That would include the men’s baseball championship tournament, capped by the College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. But in a twist, the NCAA did not mandate the end of play totally, leaving choices up to the individual conferences. Almost every major conference, including the SEC and ACC, announced a suspension of play, while a few others, including the Big Ten and the Mountain West Conference, announced a cancelation of all play.
In the end, however, the delay may not matter. The SEC has reportedly pushed back the decision date on the resumption of spring sports until April 15 from March 30, shutting down practices as well. The SEC is widely seen as a leader in the college baseball world, and pushing back that decision date really means that there’s little chance we’ll see the resumption of practices or play any time soon. Other conferences, including the Big West Conference, have now canceled the 2020 spring season instead of suspending it.
On the plus side, the NCAA did confirm that it will be addressing eligibility concerns and grant another year to eligibility to current seniors, with the details to come later.