Pulling the Plug on Fall Sports

(Excerpts from Inside Higher Ed Article)

  • The Big Ten and Pac-12, which include powerhouse and profitable Division I football teams such as Ohio State and Pennsylvania State Universities and the Universities of Oregon and California, Berkeley, announced on Aug. 11 that fall sports competition will be on pause until at least 2021.
  • The Pac-12 went one step further, barring all teams from competing until next year, which also means no basketball games, Larry Scott, the conference’s commissioner, said during a live streamed news conference.
  • The health risks to athletes were just too high to move forward, Kevin Warren, the Big Ten Commissioner, said in a statement announcing the conference would postpone fall sports. “It became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall,” Warren said.
  • In the Pac-12 press conference, officials noted increasingly concerning research about a heart complication, myocarditis that some athletes who previously had COVID-19 are at risk of developing due to inflammation and potential scarring of the heart muscle while battling symptoms of the virus. Dermot Phelan, director of sports cardiology at Atrium Health’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, said in a release that exercising with myocarditis intensifies the disease and increases the risk of cardiac arrest and sudden death.