NBC News- The Big Ten, a Midwest alliance boasting some of America's most elite schools and storied college football programs, postponed 2020 gridiron action on Tuesday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"The Big Ten Conference announced the postponement of the 2020-21 fall sports season," according to a league statement.
"In making its decision, which was based on multiple factors, the Big Ten Conference relied on the medical advice and counsel of the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee."
By calling off all fall sports, it means prominent football teams like Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin will be sidelined from their traditional seasons.
And more significantly, the Big Ten's action pushed college football closer to a total fall shutdown.
Within college's football top tier, the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the Big Ten is among the Power 5 leagues which dominate the sport.
The Pacific-12 and Southeastern Conferences had already cancelled all non-league games while the Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences have pared back their schedules to a more regional slates of contests.
Before the Big Ten action, President Donald Trump decried the possible cancellation of college football this fall.
"I think (college) football's making a tragic mistake," Trump told Fox Sports Radio's "Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis" on Tuesday.
"It's brilliant, football. It's great football. It's the atmosphere, there's nothing like it. And you can't have empty seats."
He argued — without providing evidence — that college football players, elite athletes in their late teens and early 20s, are at low risk to coronavirus.
"These people are so powerful and so strong and not lots of body fat ... and they're very healthy people," Trump said.
"People don't realize, it's a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they're old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with (a) bad heart, diabetes, some kind of physical problem."
Nebraska football coach Scott Frost, whose Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011, on Monday floated the possibility of his team's joining another conference to play just for this fall season.
“We want to play no matter who it is or where it is," Frost said Monday. "We certainly hope it's in the Big Ten. If it isn't, I think we're prepared to look for other options."
The announcement is sure to disappoint Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who posted a lengthy statement on Monday explaining that his program could play ball without spreading the deadly virus.
“If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done,” according to Harbaugh.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, an alumnus of both Wisconsin and Ohio State, bristled Monday at the notion college football might be over for 2020.
"America needs college football," tweeted Jordan, a standout Badgers grappler and former assistant wrestling coach at OSU.
As the coronavirus continues to plague America, 2020 college football has been winding down.
The Mid-American Conference (MAC) on Saturday became the first FBS league to cancel the upcoming season. Days earlier, the independent University of Connecticut announced it won't play football this fall.
The Mountain West Conference — with the likes of feared underdog Boise State and Colin Kaepernick's alma mater Nevada — announced Monday it was bowing out of fall sports.
Playoffs for the NCAA's three lower levels of football — the Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III — were cancelled last week, raising further doubts there will be fall gridiron play.