Big 12 Commissioner: 'Hard to Forecast' Whether Football Games Could be Played Without Fans

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby acknowledged the possibility that football games could be played behind closed doors.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there is a chance football games could be played without fans this fall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bowlsby addressed the media on a conference call on Thursday and said the Big 12 is already looking at how the virus could impact the upcoming football season.

“It’s hard to forecast those things,” Bowlsby said, per Stadium’s Brett McMurphy.

Bowlsby added that the conference will monitor the pandemic over the next 60-90 days to decide if the upcoming football season should be delayed. The season is set to start on Sept. 3 when Oklahoma State hosts Oregon State, and the conference’s plan, for now, is to play the season as scheduled.

Bowlsby said he does not think any spring football practices or games will take place, and a conditioning period for athletes will be needed once sports return.

“Is there a time when we have some sort of OTAs or captains practices or mini-camps? I don’t think there’s a crystal ball on the planet that can tell us what’s going to happen in the coming months,” he said, per the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s Don Williams.

College athletics are among the many sports affected globally by the coronavirus. Earlier this month, men’s and women’s conference basketball tournaments were canceled before the NCAA canceled March Madness due to concerns over the coronavirus. The NCAA also canceled all winter and spring championships, which sparked an outcry from players, coaches and athletic directors, particularly seniors who had their final season come to a sudden halt.

The Big 12 chose to cancel all spring sports competitions, both in conference and out-of-conference, for the remainder of the academic year. Bowlsby estimated that the conference could lose around $15-18 million as a result of canceled games. 

Source: Sports Illustrated

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