INDIANAPOLIS — The Big Ten Conference canceled its non-conference fall schedules in part to give football teams more flexibility for scheduling games during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCAA has made another contribution to that effort by allowing all major college football teams to begin their seasons as early as Aug. 29.
The association confirmed that the football oversight committee had requested a blanket waiver to permit any school to push up the start of its season to the so-called Week Zero, which has traditionally been limited to games for which extra travel time was necessary, such as at Hawaii or overseas. Recently, TV networks began petitioning to hold games in the continental United States in that week as well.
The official start of the season had been Labor Day weekend, with a few games scheduled for Aug. 29.
Some schools and conferences are working on delaying the start of their football seasons while others are trying to get a head start. Kansas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 have recently moved up opening games against FCS opponents to Aug. 29.
Ohio State was originally scheduled to open the 2020 season Sept. 5 against Bowling Green. However, that game was canceled along with other non-conference games against Oregon and Buffalo.
The Buckeyes’ current known schedule calls for the season to begin Sept. 19 against Rutgers at Ohio Stadium. However, the Big Ten has not announced if the schedule will unfold as originally planned.