NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The Rutgers football team was thrown for a sack Tuesday when the Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference did not rule out the possibility of moving fall sports to the spring, and said that decisions regarding winter and spring sports will also continue to be evaluated.
Big Ten officials said it based its decision to postpone fall sports on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee.
“Our primary responsibility is to make the best possible decisions in the interest of our students, faculty and staff,” said Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “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."
There was hope in the air around SHI Stadium for the first time in years after Rutgers brought back Greg Schiano to serve as coach. Schiano, who guided Rutgers to six bowl game appearances in his final seven seasons on The Banks of the Ol' Raritan, was given an eight-year, $32 million contract to return to the Scarlet Knights.
Under head coach Chris Ash, who was fired last October, Rutgers won eight games over four seasons.
The Rutgers football team was forced to quarantine last week after more than 20 players tested positive for COVID-19. State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said the players contracted the virus after attending a party.
The fall sports affected bv the announcement are men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball.
Members of the Big Ten Conference voted 12-2 in favor of postponing the season, according to published reports. Iowa and Nebraska were the only two who did not vote in favor of it.