Big Ten College Football Conference will resume season starting Oct. 24 weekend and revoke postponement.
The Big Ten football conference will reopen its season on the weekend of Oct. 24. The conference announcement comes after its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted in favor of proceeding with the 2020 season.
The leagues 2020 season will consist of eight regular-season games and six consolation games with a final Championship. The Championship game is set to be played Dec.19, which will make the Big Ten eligible for the College Football Playoffs.
Tickets for games will be off-limits for fans, but minor exceptions could be made for family members, professional scouts, and coaches to attend.
In agreement with proceeding for the 2020 season, schools in the conference will now provide daily rapid COVID-19 testing for returning players. Testing will start promptly on Sept. 30. Rapid testing will include enhanced cardiac screening and a data-driven approach in addition to testing for COVID-19.
In a statement, Dr. Jim Borchers, Ohio State University Head Team Physician said, “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.”
According to a statement released by the Big Ten Conference, each school will have a designated Chief Infection Officer (CInO) who is responsible for collecting data and reporting it back to the Big Ten Conference.
“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.”
In regards to any student-athlete who may test positive, The Big Ten will use the collected data to decide the fate of practice and games based on a seven-day rolling average. Brackets of acceptable infection rates have been put into place, including 2-5% in positive tests, preventions of continued spread will start. If the team goes over 5% and the team plus the coaching staff is over 7.5% infection, the tem will stop practice and competition for a seven-day minimum.
Brackets are set up on a color scale, Green, Orange, and Red. The color scales will be valid for two categories: team positivity rate and population positivity rate.
Green/Green and Green/Orange: Team continues with normal practice and competition.
Orange/Orange and Orange/Red: Team must proceed with caution and enhanced 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.
The re-vote has sparked backlash from officials fighting the spread of the coronavirus after Big Ten officials said the idea would not be revisited to continue the season after postponement.
In response, Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said, “Are we better today than we were yesterday? Are we better today than we were 42 days ago? The answer is, unequivocally, yes.”
The commission is currently working on producing a play schedule.