The Big 12 Conference took an extra day to arrive at its decision, but ultimately it came to a different conclusion than two of its Power Five brethren.


While the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday that they would not hold a fall football season, the Big 12 chose to forge ahead on Wednesday, following a Tuesday-night meeting of its board of directors.


"The board continues to believe that the health and well-being of our student-athletes must guide all decisions," TCU chancellor and board of directors chairman Victor Boschini said in a league statement. "To that end, the board has consistently relied on the advice and counsel of top medical experts to determine the viability of available options.


"Our student-athletes want to compete, and it is the board's collective opinion that sports can be conducted safely and in concert with the best interests of their well-being. We remain vigilant in monitoring the trends and effects of COVID-19 as we learn more about this virus. If at any point our scientists and doctors conclude that our institutions cannot provide a safe and appropriate environment for our participants, we will change course."


Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby echoed those sentiments during a Wednesday-morning media teleconference, saying that the decision to play was the culmination of a five-month process to determine the best course of action.


"We have done that mostly talking to our student-athletes and talking to health care professionals and scientists that are working in COVID research and care," Bowlsby said. "We have evolved over time, there isn't any question about that.


"We're learning more all the time, and yet there is much we don't know."


He went on to say that testing is a key component in keeping players safe, and monitoring possible complications with positive tests before allowing players to return is paramount. He also said that any nonconference opponents — the Big 12 is playing a nine-game league schedule and allowing one outside opponent — must adhere to the Big 12 testing standards.


"I think what we've heard from our student-athletes is they'd like to play, but they want to make sure it's safe," Bowlsby added. "They want to know what the eligibility implications are, and they want to know that their financial aid is secure."


Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor applauded the board's decision.


"I know our football team has indicated that they want to be able to have the opportunity to play, as long as it's safe," Taylor said during his own virtual press conference late Wednesday morning. "And our presidents and everybody did a great job — and athletic directors — over the last several days, working through this process."


Bowlsby and Taylor both said that in addition to constant contact with medical experts, the conference met on several occasions with at least two athletes from each team for their input.


While Taylor was pleased with the decision to play, he wasn't taking anything for granted.


"We still have a long ways to go between now and Sept. 12, and certainly we need to do our best to keep these kids safe, whether it's making sure we're testing them and keeping them safe and mask-wearing and social distancing and all those things when students come back," he said. "But I do think it was a great step to say we're committed to our student-athletes, because when we talked to them and the coaches talked to their athletes, they want to play.


"But they want to play with the opportunity to be safe."


Bowlsby said that the Big 12 would not be involved in the number of fans member schools would allow in their stadiums during games, citing different situations at different institutions with regards to COVID-19.


K-State is still working through those details, according to Taylor.


"We do know it's going to be limited," he said. "We just don't know what that limit is going to be.


"And until we get that word, we just have our plans in place and hopefully in the next few days, we'll kind of put out operationally what we're doing, even if we don't have a fan number. The (Riley) County Health Department and the folks in the county are the ones who will give us that number and that go-ahead at some point."


The Big 12 will open conference play on Sept. 26, but K-State will open its season Sept. 12 at home against Arkansas State. Kansas currently is scheduled to open Sept. 26 at Baylor.