The Big Ten is closed for business this year, folks. This comes as little surprise in the wake of the NCAA canceling all winter and spring championships, but it does make it official.
Big Ten cancels all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year and announces a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future. https://t.co/bBVXWLqzvg— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) March 12, 2020
The statement from the Big Ten:
The Big Ten Conference announced today that in addition to 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. In addition, the Conference 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.
The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.
The Big Ten expanded that blanket ban to "all organized team activities" on Friday:
The Big Ten Conference announced today that all organized team activities have been suspended until April 6, 2020, and will be re-evaluated at that time.https://t.co/ZeNnHJYpfC— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) March 13, 2020
Essentially this is just expanding their previous ban to include sports that conduct practice during the spring but don't compete -- so football, basically. Most Big Ten teams were either on the cusp of starting spring practice activities or scheduled to do so in the next few weeks (Iowa's spring practices were set to begin on March 25). Obviously, assembling 80-90 players for practice sessions is an ill-advised decision right now.
Whether spring practice is simply postponed to "later this semester" or canceled altogether is TBD (as the statement notes, the Big Ten plans to re-evaluate the suspension decision on April 6), although personally I wouldn't bank on things resuming too quickly. It's certainly not ideal for Iowa to be losing spring practice dates when they're going to be replacing a quarterback, right tackle, and much of the defensive line and secondary. But those are also concerns for a normal time -- and things are anything but normal at present.
In addition to the Big Ten's prohibition on all on- and off-campus recruitment activities, the NCAA has extended their own ban on recruiting until at least mid-April.
NCAA has suspended all recruiting on and off campus for all sports until at least April 15, source told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 13, 2020
Caring is canceled, y'all.