After announcing that they were canceling the season last month, the Big Ten has reversed their position. ESPN reports that the Big Ten will kick off its football season the weekend of Oct. 24. The league’s presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to resume competition; they made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday morning. The league cited daily testing capabilities and confidence in the latest medical information as reasons to start the season.
Per their announcement, there are protocols if players test positive for COVID-19. “All COVID-19 positive student-athletes will have to undergo comprehensive cardiac testing to include labs and biomarkers, ECG, Echocardiogram and a Cardiac MRI. Following cardiac evaluation, student-athletes must receive clearance from a cardiologist designated by the university for the primary purpose of cardiac clearance for COVID-19 positive student-athletes. The earliest a student-athlete can return to game competition is 21 days following a COVID-19 positive diagnosis.”
Each team is scheduled to play eight games in eight weeks before the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 19. Fans are not expected at Big Ten games, which will be held on campus throughout the season.
All Big Ten sports will require testing protocols before they can resume competition. Updates regarding fall sports other than football, as well as winter sports that begin in the fall including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and wrestling, will be announced shortly.