While Ohio State is set to open fall camp on Aug. 7, a letter sent Thursday to Big Ten athletic directors by conference commissioner Kevin Warren and Dr. Chris Kratochvil, the chairman of the conference’s Task Force for Emerging and Infections Diseases, states a decision will be made in the next five days as to whether or not preseason practices will proceed as scheduled.
“We want to say as clearly as we can that we understand the frustration associated with the circumstances created by the COVID-19 virus,” the letter said. “The pandemic has made it challenging to provide information as early as we would like, but it is important for us to be thorough and transparent.
“We will not, and cannot, proceed with preseason camp until we are certain that we can do so safely and that will depend, in part, on testing. Once we have everything in place to execute our testing protocols effectively, including the appropriate number of tests secured for all fall sports, we can make a decision as to whether preseason camp will begin as currently scheduled.”
The Big Ten remains hopeful it can compete this fall in men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, football, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, but acknowledges their respective seasons could be cancelled if the conference is not confident they can be played safely.
“The health and safety of our students, student-athletes, and everyone associated with our Big Ten university communities has been and will remain our primary focus. If we determine as a conference that it is not prudent to compete in the fall of 2020, we will not do so, much like our decision in March 2020 to cancel the men’s basketball tournament in Indianapolis. Our final decision will be rooted in guidance from medical experts and in consultation with institutional leadership, student-athletes, coaches and appropriate federal, state, and local authorities.”
Multiple reports on Thursday indicated that the Big Ten could announce its updated fall schedule as early as today, but the conference’s letter said the schedule remains fluid. The plan is to release the schedules for every fall sport sometime next month.
“Many options are under consideration within each sport, and we expect these updated schedules to be released in August 2020. While we remain hopeful for a start in September 2020, flexibility has been created within our scheduling models to accommodate necessary adjustments. Consistent with our collective need to be adaptable to changes in circumstances and evolving medical knowledge, even issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur.”
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