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Will there be a Wisconsin football season this fall?

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I’d recommend picking up another hobby or two to keep you occupied this fall.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

I hope I’m wrong. I desperately want to be wrong, but I don’t think there is going to be Wisconsin Badgers football this fall.

With the B1G announcing on Thursday afternoon that the conference would be cancelling all non-conference matchups for every fall sport, including football, it seems like this is actually the first step towards not having football at all.

The Ivy League has already cancelled their fall sports seasons and, if you’ll remember years ago (read: four months ago), the Ivy League was also the first conference to cancel postseason basketball. Schools all over the country have been slowly welcoming athletes back to campus, and some have had to already shutdown practices due to COVID-19 concerns, while these same schools have been making plans to switch to distance learning for many classes.

Predictably the NCAA has nothing useful to say on the matter and is leaving it up to each conference to “make important decisions based on their specific circumstances.” What a feckless, useless, needless organization the NCAA is, btw. They are basically a glorified party planning committee that throws one (1) big party every March and then spends the rest of time making sure the “student athletes” that they say they care so much about can’t make any money or get taken out to lunch.

I get the logic behind the B1G going to a conference-only schedule, and while we all got our jokes off about the geographic footprint of the conference, that’s not the reason for this. The B1G wants each school in the conference to do things the exact same way so that there is a chance of football being played.

Apparently, everybody else is pissed at the B1G too for announcing this when they did which is all the more reason for their to be some sort of governing body that, you know, actually does something.

The decision by the B1G is also going to have far-reaching consequences for schools not in the conference, most notably the MAC. A lot of B1G schools schedule MAC schools in the non-conference for “buy games” because they are close geographically and usually provide the B1G school with a nice warm-up win before conference play starts.

What is going to happen to some of these MAC athletic departments if they don’t get the money they were expecting because the B1G isn’t playing non-conference games? Are sports going to need to be cut? Will there be massive layoffs? I hope the B1G didn’t make this decision lightly because it affects a ton of people.

I think that this is just a stop-gap decision before the real decision, to cancel the whole season, is announced. I think that the B1G and its member institutions are hoping against hope that something will change in the next month, but that is looking more and more like wishful thinking.

Again, I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am. The health and safety of the athletes at Wisconsin, and the rest of the conference, is the most important thing to consider here and some of them have already been infected. I can’t, and won’t, get into the cynical business of discussing the math of “how many players need to be sick” before a team has to pull out of the season.

While it is unlikely that one of these young, healthy kids gets sick enough to die, we don’t know what the long-term effects of getting COVID-19 are and the short-term effects sound like they are pretty miserable to go through.

We here at B5Q will keep writing and reporting like the season is going to happen until we are told it isn’t. We love Wisconsin football and love writing about it and discussing it, so it is our hope that by some miracle the season is played.

I just don’t think it will be.