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Big 12 Media Days Football (copy)

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby speaks during 2019 Big 12 media days.

The Big 12 will play 10 games in 2020.

The conference announced Monday night that it will play nine conference games plus one home non-conference game this fall. The move comes as all college athletic conferences try to balance the desire to play sports in the fall with the need to remain safe in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Big 12 said that non-conference game will precede each team’s conference slate and the anticipated start is sometime between mid- and late September.

The model the league’s presidents and chancellors approved Monday also will give the Big 12 the flexibility to move the conference title game to Dec. 12 or 19.

“I would like to salute the work of our university presidents and chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, medical advisors and administrators who have worked tirelessly and collaboratively during these extraordinary times,” Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a conference release.“We believe this change provides the best opportunity going forward. 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 becomes the latest Football Bowl Subdivision conference to announce a schedule overhaul and the last of the Power 5 leagues to make such a move. The Atlantic Coast Conference will play 10 conference games plus one non-conference tilt, while the Southeastern Conference and the Pac-12 will play 10-game, league only slates. The Big Ten was the first to announce a conference-only slate.

West Virginia University already had two non-conference games wiped out by the decisions of other conferences, with a date against the ACC’s Florida State on Sept. 5 in Atlanta as well as a Sept. 19 home game against Big Ten foe Maryland being cancelled.

That leaves a scheduled Sept. 12 home game against Eastern Kentucky left on the non-conference calendar, though no announcement has yet come from WVU about the status of that game.

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazettemail.com or follow him @RPritt on Twitter.