Big 12 to allow teams to play 1 nonconference football game

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FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, a Big 12 pylon marks the end zone at Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium before an NCAA college football game between Texas and Kansas State in Austin, Texas. Big 12 schools have agreed to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered season continued to fall into place. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Big 12 schools agreed Monday night to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered 2020 season continued to fall into place.

The Big 12's university presidents signed off on a 10-game schedule, adjusted to deal with potential disruptions from COVID-19 that lets schools play one nonconference opponent at home. A specific start date for conference play was not determined. The conference said in a news release it will likely begin mid-to-late September and the expectation is nonconference games will be completed before league play starts.

“We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. “However, we will undoubtedly need to be flexible as we progress through the season in order to combat the challenges that lie ahead.”

The Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, is scheduled for Dec. 5, but could be moved back to Dec. 12 or 19, the league announced. Dec. 19 could pose a scheduling conflict with high school football championships at the Dallas Cowboys' stadium and force the Big 12 to relocate.

The 10-team Big 12 already plays a nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. Unlike other Power Five conference that have switched to either exclusively (Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) or mostly (ACC) league games, the Big 12 could not add more conference games without teams playing each other more than once.

Several Big 12 teams have already started preseason practice, with Kansas and Oklahoma slated to play FCS teams on Aug. 29. Whether those games remain on that date is unclear.

As conferences take steps toward a football season that seems to be in precarious shape because of the pandemic, the NCAA is expected to weigh in Tuesday on fall sports other than major-college football.

The association’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet and whether to cancel or postpone NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-level football is expected to be a topic.