American Colleges Suspend Women’s Football Indefinitely

Stanford Cardinal players celebrate their 2019 NCAA title win.
Stanford Cardinal players celebrate their 2019 NCAA title win. [Credit: San Francisco Chronicle]

Multiple American colleges have suspended women’s football indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision will include a number of other Autumn sports as well.

Two big playing conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — announced they didn’t want to risk the health of their players. Although they do understand this will disappoint thousands of fans across the country.

They join a list of ten other Division I conferences to postpone women’s football including the Ivy League, Southwestern, Metro Atlantic, America East, Atlantic 10, Patriot League, Big West, Mid-American, Summit League and Mountain West conferences.

“It became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott echoed that sentiment. He said college sports have a different capacity-level to professional sports and cannot “operate in a bubble.”

“Our athletic programs are a part of broader campuses and communities where, in many cases, the prevalence of COVID-19 is significant.”

As a result, Stanford’s Women’s Soccer team will be unable to defend their 2019 NCAA Championship title.

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However, these decisions alluded to a potential rescheduling rather than a completely voided season. Winter and spring sports will still need to be evaluated but no official return dates have been set.

The Big Ten postponement sparked a public statement by The University of Nebraska, which said they were “very disappointed in the decision.”

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said his team would even look to play outside of the Big Ten.

Whether this opens the door for women’s football and other sports to elect to play in different conferences is unclear. 

Will Women’s Football be Suspended Nationwide?

The U.S. has the largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world at 5.17 million per the New York Times. This includes 165,000 deaths, accounting for nearly 25% of the worldwide count.

Despite these statistics, a growing number of other colleges have announced their intent to play. Conferences such as the Big-12 will continue to schedule games in the coming months.

With so much division, it is unclear if a nationwide consensus could be made. But with other big conferences such as the SEC and ACC still to announce their decisions, this could change in the near future.

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