The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted Tuesday to reinstate the 2020 fall football season, and the start date is set for the weekend of Oct. 23-24, according to a statement by the Big Ten.
The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols and has voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020: https://t.co/b5yHShGb1D
— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) September 16, 2020
The change in decision from the Big Ten, according to reports and that is emphasized in the statement, comes with the opportunity to have daily, rapid COVID-19 testing, something that was involved in conversations when commissioner Kevin Warren spoke with President Donald Trump on Sept. 1.
“The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors (COP/C) adopted significant medical protocols including daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screening and an enhanced data-driven approach when making decisions about practice/competition,” the statement reads. “The COP/C voted unanimously to resume the football season starting the weekend of October 23-24, 2020. The decision was based on information presented by the Big Ten Return to Competition Task Force, a working group that was established by the COP/C and Commissioner Kevin Warren to ensure a collaborative and transparent process.”
The statement also said that the Big Ten “will require student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other individuals that are on the field for all practices and games to undergo daily antigen testing,” and that test results “must be completed and recorded prior to each practice or game.”
The earliest that a student-athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 can return to competitions is 21 days, according to the statement.
According to Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez, the conference is planning for each team to play eight games – four home, four away – in an eight-week span that will end with a Big Ten championship week that is currently scheduled for Dec. 19, one day before the selection of the College Football Playoff.
The championship week will have the top team of the West division and the East division face off, as well as the No. 2 teams in each division, the No. 3 teams all the way down, giving every team nine games overall.
The Big Ten initially announced on Aug. 11 that all fall sports, including football, will be postponed for the remainder of the year, but in the following weeks, there were talks that the date could be moved up to the first to the week of Thanksgiving, and eventually into October.
The Pac-12 followed suit, cancelling all sports until 2021, but the other Power Five conferences – the ACC, Big 12 and SEC – have all continued forward with their respective modified schedules, with the ACC and Big 12 both already having games played.
The conference’s announcement comes a day after it appeared it might have been accidentally leaked Tuesday when University of Nebraska president Ted Carter said on a hot mic Tuesday that the Big Ten was “getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight.”
Ohio State has had two football players opt out of the season – offensive guard Wyatt Davis and cornerback Shaun Wade – both of which were preseason All-Americans and team captains. Davis announced his decision on Sept. 11 and Wade followed suit three days later.
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