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Big Ten to limit football, fall sports to conference games

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP and WPTA21) - The Big Ten Conference won’t play nonconference games in football or other sports this fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The league made the announcement on Thursday citing medical advice, but also added the caveat that that’s only “if the Conference is able to participate in fall sports.”

The announcement came a day after the Ivy League Conference canceled sporting events until at least January.

In a statement explaining the decision, the conference referenced "uncertain and unprecedented times" in which 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."

Big Ten officials said all summer sports activities would be voluntary to participants and that those who do not participate in athletics in the year ahead would not risk losing their scholarships.

The conference said it remains prepared to cancel seasons in their entirety if it is deemed prudent.

Indiana University Athletic Director Scott Dolson said his department recognizes and appreciates the focus on the health and safety of students, coaches and fans.

"Along with my fellow Big Ten athletic directors, we know that there remain many questions that still need to be answered, and we will work toward finding those answers in the coming weeks,” he added.

Purdue's Mike Bobinski said the school has been actively involved in the process to determine what course of action is taken by the Big Ten.

"We want Boilermaker Nation to know that we are actively involved in the conversations and will share information as it becomes available," he said. "Locally, we continue to evaluate and consider a variety of scenarios and strategies to bring our Boilermaker fans back to cheer on their favorite team in a safe, healthy and secure atmosphere."

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley is the news director at WPTA TV, which he joined in 2016 following nine years in a similar role in New Orleans and previous news management positions in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas.

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