Let's give a warm welcome, to the Big Ten, on its return to the 2020 college football season.
On Wednesday morning, the conference announced its plan to resume football activities and games on the weekend of October 23-24, 2020.
Reportedly, the vote between presidents and chancellors of the 14 member institutions was unanimous to bring back the sport. The league also adopted new medical protocols that includes daily antigen testing and enhanced cardiac screening.
“Everyone associated with the Big Ten should be very proud of the groundbreaking steps that are now being taken to better protect the health and safety of the student-athletes and surrounding communities,” Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee, said in a press release.
“The data we are going to collect from testing and the cardiac registry will provide major contributions for all 14 Big Ten institutions as they study COVID-19 and attempt to mitigate the spread of the disease among wider communities.”
If a student-athlete test positive for COVID-19, that player will undergo comprehensive cardiac testing including an ECG and Cardiac MRI. According to the league's new procedures, an athlete will have to wait 21 days to return to play.
“From the onset of the pandemic, our highest priority has been the health and the safety of our students. The new medical protocols and standards put into place by the Big Ten Return To Competition Task Force were pivotal in the decision to move forward with sports in the conference,” Morton Schapiro, Chair of the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors and Northwestern University President, and Chair of the Return to Competition Task Force Steering Committee said. “We appreciate the conference’s dedication to developing the necessary safety procedures for our students and the communities that embrace them.”
From here on out, if a program has a percent positivity rate of five percent or higher, the conference can halt practice and games for seven days until approved to resume.
Stadium's Brett McMurphy has reported that the league will play eight games and hold the conference title game on Dec. 19, one day before the College Football Playoff selects its final teams on Dec. 20.
There is no built in bye week for the 14 member institutions.
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