Below is a message from Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour on the Big 10’s decision to go to conference-only games this fall.
We find ourselves in extremely challenging times, with uncertainty and difficult decisions facing us at perhaps each turn. Today, the Big Ten Conference announced a move to conference-only schedules in all fall sports. This announcement represents a step, a very important step, that will help provide consistency, clarity and some control over the situation. We feel in order to establish the safest environment possible for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and our community, this is the best path forward.
Throughout the last four months, Penn State has operated from the premise that the health and safety of our students, and all those in our care, as the top priority. These decisions made by the Big Ten, and fully supported by Penn State University, have all been made with the thought of maximizing control and flexibility in order to protect health and safety of our student-athletes, staffs, coaches and those involved in supporting our games.
Many details remain to be determined in order to be able to operationalize and move forward with intercollegiate athletic competition beginning in mid to late August. We will begin immediately working with the Big Ten Conference and our fellow Big Ten institutions on the details that will allow us to provide the safest and most healthy environment for our student-athletes, coaches, staff and community.
We remain optimistic about our ability to play sports this fall and in the 2020-21 academic year. We have no doubt it will look, feel and act differently than we have become accustomed to over time. But giving our student-athletes the opportunity to compete in the sport they love and have played their entire lives is important to them individually and us collectively, as well as to the psyche and viability of our community. Please have no doubt, it’s not more important than health and safety, but it cannot and will not be easily cast aside.
There are significant additional details that need to be worked out for all our sports that compete in the fall. Those sports will be handled in a sport-specific manner with the principle of health and safety maintained as the top priority.
We will be communicating additional information as decisions are made and available. We are in this together as a Penn State family, and greatly appreciate the continued support of our tremendous student-athletes.
Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics