As players and parents within the Big Ten protest the conference’s decision to postpone fall sports, the Big Ten continues to explore all of its options for the upcoming season.
Reports emerged this week that the Big Ten is considering multiple domed stadiums such as Detroit's Ford Field, Minneapolis' U.S. Bank Stadium and St. Louis' The Dome at America's Center to proceed with a potential winter season, but a timeline for a potential start date emerged on Friday. As the Big Ten works out the logistics of the upcoming season, reports emerged that a start date as soon as Thanksgiving is on the table while Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated points to a winter season as “most likely.”
“Sources: Big Ten discussing myriad football scheduling options, but reversing course and playing now is “wishful thinking” on the part of some coaches and unlikely. Per @jaypo1961, a Thanksgiving start is one option. Most likely is still winter.”
“One source described the situation as ‘a circus’ and said some coaches won’t listen to their presidents. ‘Everyone is pushing their own interests.’”
The news comes two dates after the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization for Abbott’s rapid test detection for detection of COVID-19, where the $5 test is expected to generate results in just 15 minutes. The optimism for treatment plans rejuvenates hope for a late fall or winter season as USA Today reports that according to two sources close to the Big Ten, an eight-game schedule beginning the week of Thanksgiving remains a viable option. The Big Ten announced less than three weeks ago that fall sports have been cancelled as commissioner Kevin Warren announced plans for a spring season.
“The mental and physical health and welfare of our student-athletes has been at the center of every decision we have made regarding the ability to proceed forward,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “As time progressed and after hours of discussion with our Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Big Ten Sports Medicine Committee, it became abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”
Head coach Mike Locksley emphasized his support for a fall season earlier this month as Maryland regroups through the 12 hours allotted by the NCAA through the new hybrid practice model for impacted teams.
“I've had a chance to be on lots of phone calls with coaches and AD’s here in the conference, and I do know that our coaches along with our athletic directors and administrators have been really creative in the thought process behind it. From the information that I've been able to take from these meetings, there's no doubt that you could play a winter/spring season, and still leave time for a long enough break,” Locksley said earlier this month. “More than possibly six months for guys before we start the ‘21 season. I know the goal for us as coaches in the conference here, are to make the ‘21 season as normal as possible, and not have it kind of overlap and deal with starting late or not being able to finish, so I know a lot of thought has gone into it and there's still a working group within the Big Ten organization of putting together some infrastructures to see how we can best model this thing, but from the early things that we've been able to discuss I've been really pleased with knowing that it is definitely feasible to do it, while also keeping players’ safety and health in the forefront of it and not playing too many games in one calendar year. So I feel good about the way that infrastructure looks and I anticipate us being able to pull it off.”
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