Football fans in the stands? Big 12 officials leaving it up to schools

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NORMAN, Okla (KFOR) – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause issues for communities across the globe, colleges and universities have come up with their own ways to balance education and safety for students.

As students prepare to head back to campus or enroll in virtual classes, many people are wondering about the fate of fall sports.

Last month, the Southeastern Conference announced that it would only play conference games this season.

That move led to the cancellation of the OU vs Tennessee game, which was set to be held on Sept. 12 in Norman.

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: A general view of the stadium during the West Virginia Mountaineers vs. the Oklahoma Sooners game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 59-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 25: A general view of the stadium during the West Virginia Mountaineers vs. the Oklahoma Sooners game at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on November 25, 2017 in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 59-31. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, the Big 12 announced that it was moving forward with a 10-game football schedule for 2020, with nine conference games and one non-conference home game for each school.

“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  “We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward.  However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

Recently, there have been rumors that the some conferences plan to cancel the fall football season.

As a result, student-athletes have been taking to Twitter to push league presidents to move forward with the season.

Some OU and OSU players have joined the #WeWantToPlay movement, which was led by Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence

On Tuesday, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten announced that they were canceling fall football this year.

However, league presidents in the Big 12 said they were prepared to move forward with the season as planned.

“The Board continues to believe that the health and well-being of our student-athletes must guide all decisions” commented Board of Directors Chairman and TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini. “To that end the Board has consistently relied on the advice and counsel of top medical experts to determine the viability of available options.  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.  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.”

On Wednesday, the Big 12 released a revised schedule that has each school playing a non-conference game in September. The first conference games are slated to begin Sept. 26.

OU will kick off conference play on the road against Kansas State, while Oklahoma State University will begin at home against West Virginia.

The Big 12 Championship game is now slated for Dec. 12.

Below you can find the updated schedules for both OU and OSU.

While the main question regarding whether or not games would be played appears to have been answered, many people are still wondering if fans will be allowed at the games.

At this point, conference officials say stadium capacities will be determined by each school in accordance with local and state health ordinances.

Big 12 league presidents also stressed that they do not have any plans to add other teams to the league for the fall.

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