Notre Dame – Wisconsin Canceled as Big 10 Goes ‘Conference Only’ in ’20

The dominoes are starting to fall for college football in 2020.   On Thursday afternoon, news broke that the Big 10 will only be playing a 10-game, conference-only schedule for the 2020 season – if there is even a season.  With that news, the long-awaited Notre Dame – Wisconsin game at Lambeau Field that’s been in and out of the news the last few months is officially canceled for 2020.

Welp that sucks, but it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone given all that is going on in the country right now. Specifically, because of the challenges almost every university has had in containing COVID-19 within their football programs since players reported back to campus.  Well, that is other than Notre Dame, which announced on Wednesday that of over 100 players tested, exactly zero tested positive.

There has been speculation for months that conferences could move to conference-only schedules in the fall to reduce travel.  The recent surge in COVID-19 cases – specifically in places like Florida, California, and Texas – made this move predictable and maybe even necessary.  Again, that is IF there is even a season in 2020, and right now, that looks like a mighty big IF.

There has been speculation for months about the Notre Dame – Wisconsin game set for Lambeau Field in October.  Would it move to Notre Dame Stadium? Would it stay at Lambeau Field? Would there be fans?  Well, now we know answers to all of those questions.  The game will not be taking place in 2020 at all.

At this time, no one knows if or when the game could be rescheduled for a future season.  Given how far in advance schedules are set, trying to force this game into a future schedule for either school will be tricky and likely not happen for a few years, at least.

What this means for the 2021 game between Notre Dame and Wisconsin in Solider Field is unknown at this time as well.

Notre Dame and Wisconsin isn’t the only casualty in the Big 10’s move.  Michigan – Washington, Ohio State at Oregon, and Miami at Michigan State were supposed to be the other marquee non-conference games for the Big 10 in 2020.

This is also just the first domino to fall to immediately impact Notre Dame football in 2020.  Expect other conferences to make similar moves now that the Big 10 has moved forward with a conference-only schedule.  The Pac 12 has been rumored to be considering such a move for months as well, which could mean a break in Notre Dame’s longstanding rivalry with USC and its lesser rivalry with Stanford.

Kick-Off, TV Announced for Notre Dame Football's Week 3 Game vs. Wake Forest

Obviously, this is a developing situation.  Expect many more dominos to fall shortly.

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  1. At this point I don’t expect to see ND football this year, and I’d probably add basketball to the mix as well (along with the other sports). The Ivy League already cancelled sports for the fall and winter. I think this is just the first step.

    I think the loss of football could very well kill some lower tier school sports programs, or at least hobble them significantly. I think ND and other major programs will be fine. No doubt there will be some belt tightening but they’ll survive. But even in my local paper it noted schools, esp. FCS schools that rely in the big payouts, will suffer major consequences.

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