And then there were three.
The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Southeastern Conference were still moving forward Tuesday with plans for a fall college football season even as two other Power Five leagues, the Big Ten and the Pac-12, called things off.
"This was an extremely difficult and painful decision that we know will have important impacts on our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our fans," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. "We know nothing will ease that."
Two smaller conferences, the Mid-American and Mountain West, had already announced the uncertain move to spring football. The decisions by the deep-pocketed Big Ten and Pac-12, with hundred million-dollar television contracts and historic programs, shook the foundation of college sports.
The ACC and SEC released statements expressing cautious optimism. The Big 12 was quiet, at least publicly — the conference's board of directors held a meeting Tuesday evening.
Outside the Power Five conferences, the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA and Sun Belt made no immediate moves.
"Everyone is going to make their independent decisions and I certainly respect our colleagues," Scott said. "We try to be very collaborative, communicative with our peers across the country. But at the end of the day, our presidents and chancellors looked at what was in the best interest of Pac-12 student-athletes based on the advice and frankly what's going on in our communities."
Whereas some Big Ten football players, coaches and administrators sounded frustrated by the conference's decision to sit out the fall, in the Pac-12 there seemed to more consensus.
"We feel good about our decision," Oregon President Michael Schill said. "We would have made this decision independent of the Big Ten. We respect the institutions in the Big Ten. Many of them have the same values we have. We're pleased they are joining us."
The cost of losing football will be devastating to athletic departments. The Big Ten distributed more than $50 million to most of its members in 2018, but most of that came from media rights deals and a conference TV network powered by football.
Over the last month, conferences had been reworking schedules in the hopes of being able to buy time and play a season. The Big Ten was the first to settle on conference-only play, in early July, and all the Power Five conferences eventually switched to either all or mostly conference play.
The idea behind it was to create flexibility to deal with the potential disruptions brought on by COVID-19, like the ones that have hit Major League Baseball.
It also created an every-conference-for-itself atmosphere and that could lead to two college football seasons — one in the fall and one in the spring. Or maybe none at all.