Big 12 Media Day

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.

With six days until the first-ever virtual Big 12 Media Days, the Big 12 Conference hasn't announced the postponement or cancellation of fall sports.

This is unlike the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences, which have canceled nonconference matchups for fall sports, however the Big 12 could make that decision soon.

In an email to the Des Moines Register on Monday, Big 12 Comissioner Bob Bowlsby said, “If we are advised that it is OK to play the season, we should all expect that there will be such disruptions."

Bowlsby also told the Des Moines Register on Sunday, "The decisions will be situational based on the progression of the virus, the availability of testing and the speed of results. Our schools will continue to advance slowly with constant reevaluation.”

For the nation as a whole, the NCAA Board of Governors has moved its meeting on the sponsoring of fall sports championships to Aug. 4. 

Another school that has seen its conference move to conference-only games is the Drake Bulldogs.

The Pioneer Football League, Drake's conference for football, is limiting games to conference only and won't begin play until Sept. 26.

"[COVID-19] testing needs to be available and results readily assessed and returned” for a season to take place, Bowlsby told the Des Moines Register. “Masks and social distancing in all parts of society will help to safeguard athletes and all members of our communities. Proper and ongoing mitigation procedures need to continue to be employed and improved.”

Also according to an article by the Des Moines Register, the Big 12 presidents and chancellors are set to meet Aug. 3.

The Big 12 has already reportedly been discussing different options for its schedule in other sports such as volleyball.

Iowa State volleyball Head Coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said July 16, "It looks like the Big 12 will go to a doubleheader schedule [two matches in two days at the same venue against the same team] for volleyball."

In most seasons, Big 12 matches are Wednesdays and Sundays from late September/early October through November but may see these changes to reduce travel and potential exposure to COVID-19 and have matches played Fridays and Saturdays.

Professional sports, along with college sports, have been affected by COVID-19 with events being canceled and some athletes getting the virus. 

The Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball (MLB) announced Monday at least 14 players and staff members tested positive for COVID-19, causing more cancellations.

This caused the Marlins to have its home game on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles get canceled along with the Philadelphia Phillies, who the Marlins played this past weekend, cancel its game Monday against the New York Yankees.

These cases may begin to raise questions about if the MLB needs to cancel an already abbreviated schedule and if college sports can be conducted safely in the fall.

Some college football teams have already been affected by the virus, including Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan State and Rutgers.

These four schools are just a few of the many teams that have had to shut down its voluntary workout program because of positive COVID-19 cases within the program. 

The Iowa State football program reported July 20 that out of the 210 COVID-19 tests conducted since football players began returning to campus in mid-June, only six came back positive.

While some schools have either chosen or were forced to cancel or postpone nonconference matchups, Oklahoma, who is in Iowa State's conference, moved its regular season opener against the Missouri State Bears to Aug. 29. The matchup was originally scheduled for Sept. 5. 

Before the news surrounding the Miami Marlins broke Monday, Bowlsby told the Des Moines Register it currently plans on playing a full season starting Aug. 29, but COVID-19 testing and quick results needs to be available to have a full season take place.

Since the Big 12 hasn't made a decision on fall sports, the conference could be waiting this out as long as possible, but with meetings set to happen in a week, the fate of what college sports look like in the fall may be decided very soon.

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