Big Ten to Resume Football Season on Oct. 24 After Adopting "Stringent Medical Protocols"
On Wednesday, the Big Ten announced a plan to return to college football starting Oct. 24 after implementing "stringent medical protocols." The decision comes just over a month after the conference announced its intentions to postpone the 2020 season until the spring of 2021.
As part of its return, Big Ten student-athletes, coaches and trainers will undergo daily antigen testing and those tests must be completed prior to each practice and game. The conference will also not have a built in bye week, a 21-day suspension for players who test positive and will have to shutdown if more than 5% of a team tests positive.
With Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Maryland now back in the fold, the 2020 season adds an extra layer of validity as well.
“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,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, Head Team Physician, The Ohio State University and co-chair of the Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee.
“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.”
The conference will attempt to squeeze in eight games in eight weeks with a conference championship expected to play on Dec. 19. With the Big Ten now involved, it leaves the Pac 12 as the only Power 5 conference to not participate in a college football season in the fall.
The plan also doesn't leave much room for error if a game does have to be postponed due to a high number of positive cases on a team.