On Wednesday, the Big Ten released its new schedule for the 2020 season, which includes Ohio State now playing Michigan on Oct. 24.
But while the Big Ten may have its updated 10-game conference-only slate, one of the league's most prominent athletic directors warned that doesn't necessarily mean the 2020 season will occur.
In a statement released alongside the Buckeyes' schedule, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said a final decision has yet to have been made regarding whether or not the Big Ten will move forward with the 2020 campaign. Rather, the conference is continuing to consult with officials regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will make an ultimate decision in the weeks ahead.
"This is not a final decision that there will be an athletics season; it is the next phase in our responsible planning process with the Big Ten Conference to be prepared if we are able to have an athletics season," Smith said. "The final decision will be made in the coming weeks in consultation with local, state and federal authorities."
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Big Ten announced last month that it would be moving to a conference-only schedule for its fall sports seasons. In the weeks since, conference including the SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 have followed suit with adjusted schedules, as college football continues to navigate the safety and logistical issues posed by the pandemic.
Speaking on a conference call last month, Smith admitted he was worried the 2020 college football season may not ultimately happen.
"I am very concerned," Smith said after the Big Ten announced its plans for a conference-only season. "I used to be cautiously optimistic but I’m not even there now."