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Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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College Football Renders Split Decision Regarding Cancellations

Some schools will play football this weekend, some schools won't.

During a Wednesday of decision-making that mirrored the complex and fractious nature of college football's power brokers, conference commissioners went separate ways in determining whether to play Saturday games in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks on the United States.

The NCAA announced Tuesday it would leave the decisions to its members. The conferences, not unlike the vast areas they represent, were all over the map.

In the end, nearly three dozen of the 116 Division I and I-AA games scheduled for this weekend will not be played, and only 12 schools ranked in the top 25 will be in action.

The Big East and Atlantic Coast Conference postponed all games, including the ACC showdown Saturday in Tallahassee between Georgia Tech and Florida State, but the Southeastern Conference showdown between No. 8 Tennessee and No. 2 Florida will be played in Gainesville.

The Pacific 10 Conference stuck with its decision to postpone its lone conference game, Arizona State at UCLA. Oregon, USC and Arizona have byes this weekend.

Three Pac-10 non-conference games - Washington at Miami, California at Rutgers and Stanford at San Jose State - were postponed by mutual consent of the universities.

Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen said two other games involving conference schools - Colorado at Washington State and Montana State at Oregon State - would be played as scheduled "if they can make the arrangements."

Six of the 10 games involving Big Ten schools will be played. The exceptions are Penn State at Virginia, San Diego State at Ohio State, Notre Dame at Purdue, and Navy at Northwestern.

"It's not like we're playing Western Kentucky," Northwestern Athletic Director Rick Taylor said. "It's the Naval Academy and the Pentagon. We had great, great, respect for their feelings. It was an easily reached mutual decision."

Notre Dame is a member of the Big East in all sports except football, in which it remains independent, but the Irish elected to honor the Big East's decision not to play. The Purdue-Notre Dame game has been moved to Dec. 1.

"In a nutshell, the magnitude of this travesty warrants a pretty significant mourning period for the nation," Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White said.

The Big 12 Conference will also play a limited schedule.

Nebraska decided late Wednesday to move its home game with Rice to Sept. 20, yet the Southeastern Conference has decided to play all nine games involving conference teams, including a match-up of No. 8 Tennessee at No. 2 Florida in Gainesville.

Hansen favored postponing all games this weekend, and tried to forward his opinion on a Wednesday conference call of Division I commissioners.

He soon realized that there was not going to be a consensus.

"Quite a few people wanted to reach a unified national position, but right from the start it was clear the SEC was going to play regardless," Hansen said.

When it became clear several school were going to play, Hansen said he became less adamant about two of his member schools, Oregon State and Washington State, not playing its scheduled home games.

The SEC issued a release defending its decision to play its full schedule.

SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer said his office conferred with the White House on the matter and was encouraged to "move forward."

"We are following the guidelines of the president of the United States, not the guidelines of the Southeastern Conference," Kramer said.



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