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Big Ten announces plans to move forward with a conference-only fall sports schedule

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It is the first major conference to make such a decision regarding the 2020 fall season.

Indiana v Purdue

If there is a 2020 college football season, Maryland be playing fewer games, as the Big Ten announced Thursday that its teams across all sports will play a conference-only schedule this fall.

“By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic,” the conference said in a press release.

The Big Ten is the first major conference to make such a decision. The Ivy League said a day earlier that no sports will be played at its universities until at least Jan. 1, 2021, with reports of the football season being moved to the spring, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any student-athletes that choose to sit out any point during the summer or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns over coronavirus will still keep their scholarship, the Big Ten noted in the release.

In football, the Terps lose three games from their 2020 schedule — Towson, Northern Illinois and West Virginia. Per a report from The Athletic and ESPN, the league is considering a 10-game league schedule instead of the traditional nine.

The team has relied on its non-conference slate heavily to boost its record since switching into the behemoth of the Big Ten East division. Maryland went 1-8 in league play last season, and the program hasn’t won more than four games since it joined — and that only happened once, in 2014.

With the announcement, the Terps’ schedule will now be limited to contests against Minnesota, Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State.

Details regarding the schedules of other fall sports will be released at a later date. However, the Big Ten noted there is no guarantee that the season will be played.

“As we continue to focus on how to play this season in a safe and responsible way, based on the best advice of medical experts, we are also prepared not to play in order to ensure the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes should the circumstances so dictate,” the conference said in the press release.