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Big 12 decides to play, Baylor releases amended football schedule

Baylor opens the season on Sept. 12 at home against a not-yet-determined opponent. (File)
Baylor opens the season on Sept. 12 at home against a not-yet-determined opponent. (File)(Baylor Football)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 10:41 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2020 at 3:43 PM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (KWTX) - The Big 12 plans to play football this fall, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Wednesday morning.

The decision by the conference’s board means Baylor and other Big 12 teams will play an amended schedule, but Baylor will limit attendance to 25% capacity.

“Ultimately our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome,” Bowlsby said in a statement posted on the conference’s website.

“I wanted to get to this point in August to see what we might’ve learned to do as we went along,” Bowlsby later said during a conference call with reporters.

“Frankly, what we thought was golden 60 days ago is garbage today.”

A short time later, Baylor announced it will play five home games at McLane Stadium under the conference’s amended “9+1” schedule that calls for conference play to start on Sept. 26.

“Big 12 members have committed to enhanced COVID-19 testing that includes three tests per week in ‘high contact’ sports, like football, volleyball and soccer. Additionally, return to play protocols after positive occurrences will include an EKG, troponin blood test, echocardiogram, and cardiac MRI. Non-conference football opponents must also adhere to COVID-19 testing protocols that conform to Big 12 standards during the week leading up to competition,” Baylor said in a press release.

Baylor opens the season on Sept. 12 at home against a not-yet-determined opponent.

Baylor fall football schedule

Sept. 12 TBD*

Sept. 19 Open

Sept. 26 KANSAS

Oct. 3 at West Virginia

Oct. 10 Open

Oct. 17 OKLAHOMA STATE

Oct. 24 at Texas

Oct. 31 TCU

Nov. 7 at Iowa State

Nov. 14 at Texas Tech

Nov. 21 Open

Nov. 28 K-STATE

Dec. 5 at Oklahoma

The season will begin with a limit of 25% capacity at McLane Stadium, Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades said in a press release Wednesday afternoon, and the university is offering “multiple options for those who have purchased season tickets including the deferral of season tickets to the 2021 season.”

Depending on the new coronavirus, capacity could be expanded as the season progresses.

Premium area ticket holders “will retain season ticket status,” but other season ticket holders will be eligible to purchase priority single-game tickets first.

“Now, more than ever, we ask for your philanthropic support through the Baylor Bear Foundation,” Rhoades said.

“The athletic department is expecting an approximate 20% revenue decline this year, which impacts our ability to serve more than 500 current Baylor student-athletes. We invite the Baylor Family – as they are able – to join us as we continue to carry out our vision of Preparing Champions for Life.”

All 2020 tickets will be delivered as mobile-only tickets, the school said.

Those with immediate questions may contact the Bear Foundation at Bear_Foundation@baylor.edu.

“Our student-athletes want to compete, and it is the board’s collective opinion that sports can be conducted safely and in concert with the best interests of their well-being,” Board of Directors Chairman and TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said.

“We remain vigilant in monitoring the trends and effects of COVID 19 as we learn more about the virus. If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course.”

Despite pleas from players, coaches and President Donald Trump in recent days to play on, 40% of major college football teams have now decided to punt on a fall season, a decision that will cost schools tens of millions of dollars and upends traditions dating back a century.

The announcement Wednesday came a day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced they won’t play this fall, joining the Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West in hoping to salvage a spring season.

The Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences, however, will play.

“We’ve spent a lot of time with the other conference commissioners,” Bowlsby said Wednesday.

“There was a presumption that we were going to be in lockstep. In the end, we have to do what’s best for our individual conferences,” he said.

“In the case of the Pac 12, they’ve got a really tough situation. I think each league has to make its own decision.”

“What we heard from our experts are that the ramifications can be mitigated and properly managed. As long as that continues to be the case, they believe we can safely conduct competition. If we can get to the place that it’s their opinion we can no longer do that, we can pivot to another course. I think we can all talk to the same people, look at the same data, look at individual circumstances and come to different outcomes,” he said.

“I don’t know that we would want to be the only conference playing,” he said.

The cost of losing football will be devastating to athletic departments.

The Big Ten distributed more than $50 million to most of its members in 2018, but most of that came from media rights deals and a conference TV network powered by football. Maybe some can be recouped in the spring, but there are bills to pay now.

Wisconsin of the Big Ten has estimated $100 million in losses with no football at all. Michigan said it could be in the red more than that.

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce was evidently feeling optimistic about the prospects for a fall season.

The chamber’s annual Kick Off Sports Luncheon featuring, among others, Baylor’s new head football coach, Dave Aranda, will be held virtually from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, the organization announced in a press release issued more than an hour before the Big 12 announcement Wednesday.

Tickets are $20.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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