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Big Ten announces plans to play this fall

Photo by Jeff Hanisch, USATSI

Photo by Jeff Hanisch, USATSI

The Big Ten will play football this fall after all. The league just announced plans for a fall season beginning October 23-24. According to multiple reports, the season will consist of eight games in eight weeks.

Back in August, the Big Ten postponed all sports seasons due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. What has changed since then? The league plans to use daily rapid testing to control outbreaks and implement new screening protocols for myocarditis, a heart condition linked to the virus. After hearing about the new testing and medical protocols on Sunday, the Big Ten council of presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to play this fall.

“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,” said 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. “We appreciate the conference’s dedication to developing the necessary safety procedures for our students and the communities that embrace them.”

“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student-athletes can realize their dream of competing in the sports they love,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “We are incredibly grateful for the collaborative work that our Return to Competition Task Force have accomplished to ensure the health, safety and wellness of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”

According to the new protocols, players who test positive for the virus must sit out for 21 days and a team must halt practice and games if their positivity rate is above 5%:

The Big Ten Conference will use data provided by each Chief Infection Officer (CInO) to make decisions about the continuation of practice and competition, as determined by team positivity rate and population positivity rate, based on a seven-day rolling average:

  • Team positivity rate (number of positive tests divided by total number of tests administered):
    • Green 0-2%
    • Orange 2-5%
    • Red >5%
  • Population positivity rate (number of positive individuals divided by total population at risk):
    • Green 0-3.5%
    • Orange 3.5-7.5%
    • Red >7.5%

Decisions to alter or halt practice and competition will be based on the following scenarios:

  • Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
  • Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention (alter practice and meeting schedule, consider viability of continuing with scheduled competition).
  • Red/Red: Team must stop regular practice and competition for a minimum of seven days and reassess metrics until improved.

Welcome back to the party.

[Big Ten]

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

6 Comments for Big Ten announces plans to play this fall

  1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    9:42 am September 16, 2020 Permalink

    Welcome to the party! However, your teams will NOT get a CFP nod over the Cats if you only play 8 games! 🙂

  2. Irwin R. Fletcher
    10:41 am September 16, 2020 Permalink

    If I’m not mistaken, this scenario appears to put a bit of the burden on the population at large.

  3. Megan
    12:32 pm September 16, 2020 Permalink

    So they’re not saying they can play safely. They’re saying things will go wrong, but now they’re will to accept it and are detailing how they’ll face that inevitability and cover their asses. They’re crossing their fingers and will try to have something of a season. Best of luck. But as Irwin nicely points out above, the risk they’ve decided to undertake is to the general population, not just to the players.

    They’re talking point is that rapid testing made all the difference. But it’s hard not to think that’s just a big fig leaf, something to hide behind. It’s hard not to think the league has caved to pressure from fans, prominent coaches, players, and even the President, and is prioritizing profits, entertainment and a measure of public relations peace over health and safety, as today’s NY Times notes.

    Before, it looked like they stood on principle. Fans didn’t like it, of course, but it seemed like the right thing to do during a pandemic. They don’t look so principled now. We’re left to wonder why the Big Ten did an about-face while the Pac-10, who also has rapid testing, stands firm. One of them has different priorities. And now, of course, the wildfires aren’t going to make a season any easier out west.

  4. bigbluebg
    7:52 am September 17, 2020 Permalink

    So, there’s no way they’ll finish the season with those covid-19 rules