Big Ten directive shuts down Michigan State spring football game, pro day

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

There will be no spring football game at Michigan State.

Not long after the Big Ten announced that all team activities would be suspended through April 6, effectively guaranteeing spring practice would at least be delayed, the Spartans confirmed on Friday through a team spokesman that the annual spring game scheduled for April 18 had been canceled.

Mel Tucker

The spring game was to be the first for coach Mel Tucker. In February, Tucker replaced Mark Dantonio, who stepped down after 13 seasons as the program’s winningest coach.

Earlier on Friday, Michigan State announced that its pro day was canceled. It was scheduled to take place on Wednesday and was the latest event to be eliminated in the continued effort to prevent the potential spread of the coronavirus.

While Michigan State hadn’t officially called off spring football, the Big Ten’s announcement essentially forced Michigan State’s hand relative to the game that was to be played at Spartan Stadium.

“The Big Ten has previously announced that in addition to canceling the Men’s Basketball Tournament it will be canceling all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year, and participation in all NCAA tournaments and competitions,” the conference said in a statement. “The Conference also has announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.

“The Big Ten Conference will use this time to work with the appropriate medical experts and institutional leadership to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the conference’s statement said. “The main priority of the Big Ten Conference continues to be the health, safety and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty, fans and media as we continue to monitor all developing and relevant information on the COVID-19 virus.”

While the news derailed spring football, there was some glimmer of hope for other spring sports as the NCAA announced on Friday afternoon that eligibility relief would be appropriate. The announcement essentially means no player would lose a season of eligibility because of the canceling of the season.

Twitter: @mattcharboneau