(UT Longhorns/Twitter)

The Longhorn football schedule as released today by the Big 12 Conference.

This story has been updated.

The University of Texas Longhorns will start its fall 2020 football season with a match up against Texas Tech on Sept. 26, according to the new fall football schedule announced Wednesday by the Big 12 conference.

The announcement puts to rest, for now, speculation that the conference would be postponing its season until at least January, as Big 10 and Pac-12 did earlier this week. The Longhorns will play a nonconference game against UT-El Paso on Sept. 12 at the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.




Changing pandemic conditions could cause a reassessment later, the Big 12 board chairman said.

"The Board continues to believe that the health and well-being of our student-athletes must guide all decisions" commented Board of Directors Chairman and TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini said in a statement Wednesday. "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 the 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."



Commissioner Bob Bowlsby acknowledged the debate and concern over the discussion in the weeks leading up to the decision but said he believes the season can move forward safely.

"The virus continues to evolve and medical professionals are learning more with each passing week," said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "Opinions vary regarding the best path forward, as we've seen throughout higher education and our society overall, but we are comfortable in our institutions' ability to provide a structured training environment, rigorous testing and surveillance, hospital quality sanitation and mitigation practices that optimize the health and safety of our student-athletes. We believe all of this combines to create an ideal learning and training situation during this time of COVID-19. Ultimately, our student-athletes have indicated their desire to compete in the sports they love this season and it is up to all of us to deliver a safe, medically sound, and structured academic and athletic environment for accomplishing that outcome."

According to a report by Sports Illustrated, "the decision among the Big 12 leaders came down to ramifications of not playing a season such as player mental health, structure, etc. versus the uncertain risk of playing a season."

Wrote SI reporter Ross Dellenger:

"The Big 12's decision Tuesday night to trudge onward with a 2020 fall football season has kept alive the hope, maybe faint, that there will be college pigskin action in autumn. Hours after the Big Ten and Pac-12 called it quits, the Big 12, with a chance to shut down and bring maybe all of college football with it, stood firm. The league's top decision-makers were determined to continue marching toward a September kickoff. A group split and on the fence entering the day, Big 12 leaders settled on the side of their neighbors to the east and southeast, ACC and SEC, instead of the ones to their north and west."



(Photo courtesy of Marisela Maddox)

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