How the Big Ten’s decision might affect some local players

Photo by University of Akron Zips – Bryce Petersen

By Ray Hamill — The Big Ten’s big announcement on Wednesday that the conference will play football this fall could have a trickle down effect.

The news brought a reaction from both the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Mountain West Conference, which feature multiple former H-DNL players.

Former McKinleyville standout Bryce Petersen is a senior and preseason all-conference center for the Akron Zips, who play in the MAC, and the conference commissioner said on Wednesday that the conference continues to focus on a spring season.

The Mountain West commissioner, however, also released a statement in response to the Big Ten decision, saying that they are working to facilitate a return to football and other fall sports “at the earliest possible opportunity.”

There are two local players who play in the Mountain West — former Eureka offensive lineman Isaak Gutierrez, a sophomore who transferred earlier this year from Butte College to the University of New Mexico, and former McKinleyville standout Kyle Spalding a senior offensive tackle at San Diego State.

A fourth local player playing this year at the Division-I level — Eureka’s Miles Meynell — is a freshman at UC Davis, which plays in the Big Sky Conference and is not expected to play until the spring.

Submitted photo – Isaak Gutierrez

The emergence of rapid-testing programs was reportedly a driving factor in the Big Ten’s reversal.

In the wake of the announcement, the PAC-12 — now the only Power Five conference not scheduled to play football this fall — said in a statement it is unlikely they will see football this fall.

It was also reported on Wednesday that the men’s and women’s NCAA Division-I basketball seasons are likely to begin in late November.

That’s good news for former Eureka standout Alana Busby-Dunphy, who recently joined the Alabama women’s team.

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