Penn State’s Sandy Barbour talks Big Ten decision to postpone fall sports


You probably have plenty of questions about the Big Ten’s decision to postpone fall sports.

Can Penn State play football in the spring? Was there a vote between Big Ten presidents on postponing all sports? Why did the Big Ten pull the plug just six days after releasing a conference football schedule?

Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour spoke with media members on a zoom call Monday afternoon to provide some answers.

You can watch the full zoom press conference below:

Big Ten Vote

Barbour said it was “unclear” if there was a vote between Big Ten presidents on playing fall sports. She said she was not on the call or in the discussion.

Radio host Dan Patrick first reported a 12-2 vote between Big Ten presidents on postponing fall sports. Iowa and Nebraska were the two schools voting in favor of fall sports.

A Big Ten spokesperson then denied a vote happened, before the conference officially postponed fall sports the next day.

Spring Football

Barbour said playing football in the spring is a “viable option.” The conference and the school are working through details on how to fit a spring season in while still allowing teams to compete the following fall.

She said the school is relying on medical experts to come up with a plan to allow for players to play in both. Of course, all of this relies on controlling the coronavirus.

Quick Turnaround

The Big Ten pulled the plug on fall sports just six days after releasing a conference-wide football schedule. Big Ten parents and coaches have been vocal about wanting to play fall sports.

Barbour emphasized Penn State’s stance: move forward with playing a season, unless it is unsafe. Barbour said the Big Ten presidents decided, among uncertainty, that not playing at this time would be the best move for the conference.

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