Indiana Football Will Start Daily Testing Right Away, No Players Opting Out
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — With the Big Ten season a little over a month away, plans to prepare for the season are being created across all programs.
For Indiana, they have an advantage to begin practicing right away.
One of the reasons the Big Ten decided to return is because they can do daily rapid testing. The Big Ten will begin funding the daily tests on Sept. 30.
That leaves a two-week window before it begins, but luckily for Indiana, they will be begin rapid testing on Thursday, Sept. 17.
Tom Allen gives credit to athletic director Scott Dolson for making this possible. Indiana will be funding the daily tests for the next two weeks before the Big Ten takes over.
"All of our guys will be tested daily with tests provided by the university that we will use until the end of the month," Allen said. "That was huge. That gives us a ton of confidence in the fact that we can begin this preparation process the way it needs to be done and allow us to be able to keep a clean, healthy field of guys that we're going to be around every single day, and that will definitely bode well for our future."
No players opting out
There have been a plethora of talented players across the Big Ten that announced in early August they would be opting out of the season.
However, many players did when it was believed the season would be in the spring as opposed to this fall. When Big Ten coaches such as PJ Fleck and James Franklin joined the Big Ten Network on Wednesday, they were asked if some of their players, such as Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman and Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, would consider coming back. Both coaches said they will be having conversations with them and believe it's not out of the question. The same goes for some Ohio State players as well.
As for Indiana, they have had no players opt out during this whole process. Now that there is going to be a season, Allen confirmed Wednesday that no player on his team has come up to him and said they wanted to opt out.
"Nobody ever came to me and said, 'Coach, I'm not doing this,'" Allen said. "I think our guys are pretty locked in and believe in what we're doing. They are excited to play together. This team has wanted to play together, and now we're going to get that chance."
No crowd, no problem
The Big Ten announced that they will not be selling tickets to the public for the season starting Oct. 23-24.
However, they are hoping to allow family members into the stadium. If things improve while the season plays out, these guidelines could change, but for now, no fans will be in attendance.
"Yeah, we don't really care," Allen said. "There's no question you'd love to have a stadium full of people, but we knew that wasn't going to happen. It's going to be different."
Allen said from talking to coaches who have already played, it could feel like a Saturday scrimmage. He said Indiana might pump in some crowd noise at Memorial Stadium, but it would be minimal.
He also talked about how different it will be going on the road to places such as Ohio State and Michigan and not playing in front of their sold out stadiums, which could be an advantage for the Hoosiers.
"Just the energy you get from that, as a home team. It does make it hard to play there," Allen said. "It will be a variable that will help teams that are playing in those environments."
The way the Big Ten schedule is set up, the championship game is scheduled to be Dec. 19, which is one day before the final College Football Playoff rankings.
With most conferences already underway with their season or starting at the end of September, the Big Ten will be about a month behind and most likely be playing less games. So, that begs the question, what does that mean for the Big Ten in terms of bowl games or AP polls?
According to Allen, Big Ten schools will be in line for bowl opportunities. Also, he said because some schools aren't able to play this fall, there may be even more bowl opportunities for the conference.
"All I know is by us starting on the 24th (of October) and having our season conclude on the 19th (of December), we will be in play for all the bowl games that are out there for our conference," Allen said. "That's big for our conference. I know our players are excited about that, and we're looking forward to just taking this one week at a time."
- WHAT TOM ALLEN SAID ON THE BIG TEN NETWORK: Tom Allen joined the Big Ten Network Wednesday to give his reaction to the news about Big Ten football coming back. CLICK HERE
- INDIANA FOOTBALL BEYOND EXCITED TO BE BACK: Indiana football is back on Oct. 23-24, and the program is very excited. CLICK HERE
- BIG TEN FOOTBALL IS BACK: The Big Ten Conference announced Wednesday that football is coming back in October. Get all the details on how, CLICK HERE