The coronavirus and college sports: NCAA reopening plans, latest news, program cuts, more

Positive coronavirus tests postpone Notre Dame-Wake Forest game (0:46)

Adam Rittenberg details the decision to postpone the Notre Dame-Wake Forest football game due to positive coronavirus tests among the Fighting Irish. (0:46)

The coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the college sports landscape, leaving many questions unanswered.

Complex, high-stakes public health issues need to be dealt with before there is a good sense of what college sports will look like.

Here is the latest news and updates from the college sports world.

Jump to: Latest news | What will football look like? | What about the CFP? | Program, financial cuts

Latest news: Notre Dame-Wake Forest football game postponed after more positive tests

Tuesday, Sept. 22: The Notre Dame-Wake Forest football game scheduled for Saturday has been postponed after the Irish announced 13 players are in isolation.

Spring, 16-team playoff bracket approved for FCS football: The NCAA Division I board of directors on Tuesday approved a 16-team, spring playoff for FCS football, shrinking its usual championship bracket from 24 teams because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

SEC football to utilize devices used by NFL for contact tracing, distancing: Every football player in the SEC will wear the small, lightweight device also used in the NFL to help with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, the conference announced Tuesday.

Mizzou gets 5 players back for Bama: Inconclusive COVID-19 tests that came back negative will allow five Missouri football players previously believed to be out to participate in Saturday's game against Alabama.

Sources: ESPN moving college basketball events to Wide World of Sports in Orlando: ESPN is planning to move at least eight of its men's college basketball events to the ESPN Wide World of Sports property at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, conference and team sources told ESPN.

Monday, Sept. 21: Baylor coach Dave Aranda expressed optimism Monday that his team will be able to play its Big 12 opener against Kansas on Saturday after having to call off a game last weekend because of positive COVID-19 tests that affected a position group.

Norvell 'disappointed' to miss Miami game: Florida State coach Mike Norvell said Monday he is "extremely disappointed" he will not get to coach in his first game against rival Miami after testing positive for coronavirus over the weekend.

UMass to play limited fall schedule: UMass, which canceled its fall football season six weeks ago, reversed course and announced Monday that it intends to play a limited number of games beginning in mid-October.

Saturday, Sept. 19: The Mid-American Conference meeting did not render a decision on Saturday. A six or eight game schedule has been floated, according to the Toledo Blade.

Memphis cancels game vs. UTSA: Memphis canceled its game against UTSA next Friday, marking the second straight game it will not play due to an outbreak of COVID-19 inside its program.

Friday, Sept. 18: The Houston-Baylor football game, set for Saturday in Waco, Texas, has been postponed after Baylor did not meet the Big 12 Conference COVID-19 thresholds for playing. One of Baylor's position groups did not meet the thresholds for competition, according to a source.

FAU-Georgia Southern postponed: The Florida Atlantic-Georgia Southern football game, set for Saturday in Statesboro, Georgia, has been postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests from FAU, the schools announced Friday.

Louisville hoops planning non-conference bubble: Louisville is planning a nonconference bubble between Nov. 25 and Dec. 5, coach Chris Mack tweeted on Friday. According to Mack's tweet, the Cardinals are looking for eight to 12 teams to play three to five games during that time span.

Maui Invitational moving to NC: The 2020 Maui Invitational is moving to North Carolina, the tournament announced Friday. It will be held in Asheville, North Carolina, with sources saying it will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2.

Charlotte-UNC canceled: Charlotte was forced to cancel its game against North Carolina on Saturday because it did not have enough offensive linemen to safely play the game, the school announced Thursday.

USC, UCLA get approval from LA health department: The Pac-12 cleared another hurdle toward returning to play, as the Los Angeles County Public Health Department confirmed it will continue not to have any restrictions beyond what's mandated from the state of California as it relates to the USC and UCLA football teams.


Finebaum: Ohio State deserves credit for Big Ten's return

Paul Finebaum reacts to the news that the Big Ten has decided to start its football season in October.

MAAC announces its basketball schedule model: The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference announced its schedule model for the 2020-21 college basketball season on Thursday, becoming the first league to make its plans public following the NCAA establishing a Nov. 25 start date.

Wednesday, Sept. 16: California, Oregon governors give Pac-12 OK to play: After starting the day under the impression that six of its football teams could not begin contact practices or hold competition, the Pac-12 was informed by officials in California and Oregon on Wednesday that no such restrictions are in place at the state level, an important step for a potential return to play.

NCAA basketball can start Nov. 25: The 2020-21 men's and women's college basketball seasons can start on Nov. 25, the NCAA Division I Council said Wednesday.

Penn State reports 50 positive tests: The Penn State athletic department announced Wednesday that 50 student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 in its latest round of testing, which included 859 total tests.

NCAA panel eyes spring for canceled D-I sports: A month after canceling fall championships in non-football sports in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday outlined the structure and timing of potential replacement spring seasons and championships for those displaced sports.

Tuesday, Sept. 15: LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday that most of his team has contracted COVID-19.

Gators see virus spike: The Florida Gators' athletic department reported 61 new positive COVID-19 cases Tuesday, including six for the football team just a little more than a week before its season opener at Ole Miss.

Trojans ask California Gov. to let them play: USC football players are appealing to California Gov. Gavin Newsom to ease public health restrictions, which would allow them to play a fall season.

Arkansas St. postpones game due to COVID-19: Arkansas State has postponed Saturday's game against Central Arkansas to Oct. 10 because of player availability issues within one position group.

Saturday, Sept. 12: Virginia and Virginia Tech postponed their Sept. 19 matchup because of "COVID-19 issues." A future date has not been set.

Houston and Memphis postpone game: The AAC's opener, Houston at Memphis, set for Sept. 18 has been postponed due to "a significant number" of cases within the Memphis program. Houston will fill the hole in its schedule with Baylor next week in Waco.

BYU and Army postpone: With "a small number of positive COVID-19 test results" within the BYU program, Army and BYU have announced the teams are postponing the matchup that was set for Sept. 19.

ACC needs eight teams to continue season: Following the postponement of the Virginia at Virginia Tech game, the ACC determined the conference needs at least eight out of 15 teams to move forward with the season.

Wednesday, Sept. 9: Defending national champion LSU will have fans this season at 25% capacity of Tiger Stadium but no tailgating on campus, the school announced Wednesday.

Penn State pauses activities: Penn State has paused team activities indefinitely for several programs after 48 student-athletes tested positive for coronavirus, the school announced Wednesday.


FSU coach Mike Norvell tests positive for COVID-19

Andrea Adelson breaks down how Florida State is handling Mike Norvell's positive coronavirus test.

Wisconsin football, hockey taking break: Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez said the school's football and men's hockey teams are taking a two-week break from team activities as part of the school's COVID-19 testing protocols.

Tuesday, Sept. 8: Oklahoma test results for the coronavirus will no longer be shared publicly, with the Sooners set to begin the regular season this week, coach Lincoln Riley announced Tuesday.

Friday, Sept. 4: In order to account for student-athletes who will have to miss games because of positive coronavirus tests, contact tracing and regular injuries, the Big 12 determined on Friday that teams with at least 53 players available -- including seven offensive linemen, four interior defensive linemen and one quarterback -- must play or it will be considered a forfeit.

Thursday, Sept. 3: Following a series of questions from ESPN, it was revealed that almost half of the 65 Power 5 schools have declined to disclose positive testing data from their respective programs. Of the Power 5 schools playing football this fall, 21 have declined to release positive tests.

Spring season recommendation: The Football Oversight Committee has recommended an eight-game spring season for conferences that have opted out of the fall season. The season would feature 15 practices over 29 days and would be completed by April 17.

Florida announces seating plan: The University of Florida announced a seating reduction plan for the 2020 season that will allow 17,000 fans at the Gators' home, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

Wednesday, Sept. 2: The Football Oversight Committee on Thursday is expected to make two recommendations to the Division I Council that will give the conferences that aren't playing this fall a practice model that mirrors a typical spring, and a 13-week season that can end no later than April 17 or April 24.

ACC testing plan: The ACC unveiled its testing plan for the upcoming season. The conference will conduct three tests a week during the regular season for all fall sports, including football.

Masks mandatory at Oklahoma: Masks will be required on Oklahoma's campus on football game days, and tailgating will be prohibited during the football season in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

AAC moves non-football fall sports to spring: The American Athletic Conference will postpone the majority of its fall sports until the spring but plans to move forward with football in the fall, it announced Tuesday. The decision affects men's and women's soccer and women's volleyball, and could include cross country, "pending further NCAA clarification."

Monday, Aug. 24: Alabama coach Nick Saban on Monday pushed back against the idea that money is the primary motivating factor for attempting to put on a college football season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

NCAA OK's 12-hour schedule model for idle teams: The NCAA's Division I Council on Wednesday approved a 12-hour schedule model for teams not playing this fall that includes time for strength and conditioning, meetings, and five hours of on-field activities with helmets.

Tuesday, Aug. 18: The SEC will require face coverings for all fans and workers attending football games this fall

SWAC details spring football plan: The SWAC became the first conference to announce plans for a spring football season Monday. The plan is for each team to play six conference and one nonconference game beginning February 27.

Friday, Aug. 14: The ASUN Conference says it is postponing all fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, Aug. 13: NCAA president Mark Emmert said on Thursday there won't be fall NCAA championships because there's not enough schools participating because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic -- a decision that impacts 22 championships, including FCS football.

Emmert says using bubbles for championships in 2021 'perfectly viable': NCAA president Mark Emmert endorsed the idea of potentially using bubbles for NCAA championships -- including basketball -- in the first half of 2021, saying Thursday night that it's "perfectly viable in many sports."

CFP committee stays intact: The College Football Playoff announced its recusals for 10 of its 13 selection committee members. In a preseason that continues to be unlike any other, four of them have asterisks by their names because their affiliated schools aren't playing football this fall -- including committee chair and Iowa athletic director Gary Barta.

WAC suspends competition through end of 2020: The Western Athletic Conference joined a growing number of its peers and has suspended fall sports competition until at least the end of the calendar year.

Big Sky scuttles rest of fall sports: The Big Sky Conference has voted to postpone all fall sports competition until the spring because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Southland opts for spring college football: The Southland Conference has postponed football until the spring but will allow its members to play nonconference games this fall if they wish.


How soon could the Pac-12 return to play?

Heather Dinich reports the Pac-12's most aggressive plan to resume action could be mid-to-late November.

Wednesday, Aug. 12: Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby stated the conference's comfort moving forward with a fall season is based on medical professionals' stance that it isn't "unsafe" to play. Bowlsby said that if doctors tell them it is unsafe then the conference will stop the season.

NCAA council recommends eligibility extensions: The NCAA Division I Council recommended Wednesday that the Division I board of directors give student-athletes impacted by the coronavirus pandemic an extension of their five-year period of eligibility and an additional season of competition if they participate in 50% or less of the maximum number of competitions allowed in each sport under NCAA rules.

Big South postpones fall sports: The Big South Conference became the latest FCS football league to postpone its fall sports seasons on Wednesday, with the intent of playing in the spring, leaving three of the 13 FCS conferences with plans to play football and other sports this fall.

Big East fall sports postponed: The Big East announced that its fall sports -- men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, volleyball and field hockey -- won't be contested because of coronavirus concerns.

Horizon League postpones fall sports due to virus: The Horizon League has joined the list of conferences postponing all fall sports competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, Aug. 11: The Pac-12 CEO group voted unanimously Tuesday to postpone all sports, including football and basketball, through the end of the year.

Monday, Aug. 10: The Mountain West is postponing its fall sports season because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the conference announced on Monday.

Heart issue drives Power 5 concern: A rare heart condition that could be linked with the coronavirus is fueling concern among Power 5 conference administrators about the viability of college sports this fall.

Saturday, Aug. 8: The Mid-American Conference became the first FBS conference to postpone its fall football season. A spring season is now possible for the MAC but no decision has been made.

FCS postpones playoffs: The FCS announced that it will not be holding playoffs this fall despite some teams aiming to play a regular season. The subdivision has fallen short of the 50% team participation required for the playoffs. The FCS may also move its season to the spring of 2021.

MVC moves to a spring season: The Missouri Valley Conference opted to move its football season to the spring due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The news came on the heels of the FCS postponement of the playoffs this fall.

Thursday, Aug. 6: The ACC released its full football schedule on Thursday, with Notre Dame hosting Duke in Week 1 on Sept. 12 in a unique setup that will feature the Irish playing a league slate for the first time.

Wednesday, Aug. 5: UConn, which last month officially left the American Athletic Conference, announced Wednesday that it's suspending its football program for the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

NCAA Division III fall championships canceled: The NCAA Division III fall sports championships have been canceled for the 2020-21 season, the NCAA announced Wednesday, citing "the COVID-19 pandemic and related administrative and financial challenges."

Sun Belt approves football schedule: The Sun Belt has approved a football schedule that includes eight league games and up to four non-league games, set to begin Labor Day weekend and possibly sooner.


How college football teams have been adjusting to playing in the coronavirus era

College football programs have had to adjust in a variety of ways to face two opponents this season: the team across the field and COVID-19.

Thursday, July 30: The Southeastern Conference will play a 10-game, conference-only schedule in the upcoming football season, sources confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 29: The Big West Conference is postponing all fall sports through the end of the calendar year. The conference will determine later if conducting fall sports in the spring would be feasible.

Summit League delaying fall sports start: The Summit League is pushing back the start of fall sports to Sept. 23 because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Soccer and volleyball will play conference-only schedules.

Ohio Valley postpones some sports: The Ohio Valley Conference has postponed the start of competition for fall Olympic sports until Sept. 17, and the league also plans to compete in conference only for women's soccer and volleyball.

A-10 postpones fall sports: The Atlantic 10 announced the postponement of all fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. The conference is yet to make an announcement on winter sports.

Colonial Athletic cancels season: The Colonial Athletic Association has canceled its football season. The 12 teams in the conference will be allowed to pursue independent schedules, however.

MEAC suspends all fall sports for indefinite period: The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has suspended all fall sports indefinitely because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but hasn't determined whether the fall schedules will be moved to the 2021 spring semester, the league announced on Thursday.

NCAA eases bowl eligibility rules: College football teams can count two games against qualifying FCS teams toward bowl eligibility during the upcoming season, the NCAA's Division I Council announced Wednesday.

Monday, July 13: The Patriot League will not play sports in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Military Academy and Naval Academy are exempt from the cancellation, and any decisions on their participation in competitive sports will be made by their superintendents.

NJCAA OKs move to spring football season: The National Junior College Athletic Association on Monday approved a proposal to move its football season to the spring, according to Dr. Christopher Parker, the NJCAA president and CEO.

Wednesday, July 8: The Ivy League has ruled out playing all sports this fall, executive director Robin Harris told ESPN on Wednesday, marking the first major college decision about the status of fall sports amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 impact: How do schools plan, test, recruit and stay afloat?


Big Ten committed to starting football season in October

Heather Dinich explains how the Big Ten came to the decision to start the season in October.

Inside the meeting that saved the Big Ten football season: The Big Ten is playing football this fall. What changed? It all came down to updated medical reports. Those who provided that report take ESPN inside the meeting with Big Ten presidents that changed everything. Read

Big Ten football is back: What you need to know: After initially cancelling its fall college football season, the Big Ten announced the conference will resume play starting the weekend of Oct. 24. Read

Inside the frenzy to save college basketball's nonconference season: Last week's announcement that college basketball will start on Nov. 25 brought a sense of relief to the sport. We are going to have a 2020-21 season, it won't be delayed too long and it will include all the usual staples of a season: nonconference games and holiday tournaments, conference play and conference tournaments and then an NCAA tournament. Read

Timeline: The events leading up to the Big Ten's decision to play football this fall: After declaring the conference would sit out this fall in football, the Big Ten had a change of heart. Here's how it all unfolded. Read

Same as it ever was? Look closely, and 2020-21 college basketball season has plenty of precedent: Afraid of the altered look of the upcoming college basketball season? Relax. Even in our brave new world, much of what's to come is not new. Read

Coaches confidential: Which teams can best handle the pandemic, plus who could make their CFP debut? In a season unlike any other, we asked FBS head coaches and assistants which teams are best prepared -- and which will succeed -- despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Read

The one constant in this uncertain sports world: We are still college football fans: Ryan McGee knows this isn't going to be a "normal" season. But his message to fans is simple: College football is being played, and fans should take whatever they can get whenever they can get it. Read

How to remake an entire college football schedule in just one month: If ever you wanted insight into college football scheduling complications during a pandemic, look no further than the "wild and woolly" process it took BYU to get to its first game. Read

Electronic whistles, sanitized footballs and, yes, masks: Inside college football's new look: Players, coaches and fans knew this college football season was going to be different. But how different will it actually be? Officials, equipment managers and coaches tell us what to expect on the field. Read

What does a split college football season mean for the playoff, bowl games and the Heisman? Will there be two playoffs? How will the bowls work? And can they really give out a Heisman Trophy before the Big Ten and Pac-12 play? Here's what we know as of now. Read

Mapping college football crowds and COVID risk: As college football returns amid the coronavirus pandemic, some schools will still allow fans in a limited capacity. What does cellphone data from three big games last year tell us about how fans spread out across a region following a game? Read

Heartbreak, confusion, anger: The harsh reality for many college football players: With so many conferences postponing their season, the truth is, many players might never put on a college football uniform again. Read

How college football is impacted by the recruiting dead period: College football recruiting hasn't stopped amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it has impacted the sport significantly. Read

The inside story of college football's wildest week ever: As two Power 5 conferences postponed their fall seasons, chaos reigned. Players and coaches pleaded their cases. Health experts delivered dissenting advice. Politicians weighed in. In the end, we got a week we'll never forget. Read

What a spring college football season could -- and should -- look like: Whether or not you like the idea of spring college football, the logistics can work ... if conferences show the foresight and cooperation they've lacked over the five months since the coronavirus pandemic altered the sports calendar. Read

Can college basketball avoid a repeat of college football's calamity?: Which of the hurdles that derailed the 2020 college football season will have to be solved for men's and women's college basketball to be played in 2020-21? Read

College basketball coaches wait for next shoe to drop: The Ivy League will not be back on the court until December, at the earliest. Coaches throughout men's college basketball wonder if similar pandemic-influenced decisions are coming for their leagues. Read

College recruiting challenges during the coronavirus pandemic: With the state of college football and basketball in limbo, coaches and recruits across the country have had to find new ways to go about age-old practices during the spring. Read

College Football Playoff


Will college football champ be legit if not all conferences play?

Paul Finebaum and Ryan Clark discuss whether the CFP can crown a legitimate champion if the season goes forward with only three of the Power 5 conferences.

CFP officials have said they are moving forward with a plan to still have a playoff as scheduled. Here is the latest news:

Schools that have cut pay, programs, staff


Stanford AD on cuts: 'This has been a heartbreaking day for all of us'

Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir breaks down what went into the difficult decision to cut 11 varsity sports.

A day after the University of Cincinnati announced it would permanently cut its men's soccer program, a letter from five conference commissioners to NCAA president Emmert asked, in part, for the NCAA to lift rules that require Division I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports.

Here are other programs that have disbanded, plus schools that have made staffing changes and pay cuts: