MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — A move by the Big Ten Conference on Thursday will eliminate one football game from West Virginia’s 2020 schedule.
The Big Ten announced its fall sports would play only conference games this season, a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
That means a non-conference game between the Mountaineers and Maryland — scheduled for Sept. 19 in Morgantown — will not be played.
“We are facing uncertain and unprecedented times, and the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, game officials, and others associated with our sports programs and campuses remain our number one priority,” the Big Ten said in a statement. “By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.”
The WVU-Maryland game was to be the first of a two-game series. WVU is scheduled to travel to Maryland for the 2021 season opener.
The two border schools have met 52 times since 1919 and played every season between 1980 and 2007, but last played each other in 2015.
WVU has yet to release schedules for its other fall sports such as men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball, so it is not known if those sports will also be affected by the Big Ten’s scheduling move.
The Big Ten’s decision is the latest in a line of decisions by college conferences to alter its fall scheduling under COVID-19.
Earlier this week, the Ivy League announced it was canceling its fall sports seasons and would possibly move its football season to the spring of 2021.
The ACC also announced Thursday it was delaying the start to its fall sports — outside of football — until Sept. 1.
But, according to a published report by CBSsports.com, the ACC is also considering a similar move to the Big Ten’s, which would also eliminate the WVU-Florida State football season opener, scheduled for Sept. 5 in Atlanta.
When reached by Des Moines Register reporter Randy Peterson, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there were no plans for the Big 12 to announce a conference-only slate for its fall sports.
In football, a conference-only schedule for the 10 Big 12 schools would mean nine games. That is still on par with the number of conference games played in the Pac-12 and Big Ten.
The SEC and ACC play eight conference games per season.