Big Ten is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after the conference announced it would push football and other fall sports to spring because of the pandemic, the conference changed course.
The Big Ten plans to begin its season the weekend of Oct. 24 with an eight-game schedule for each team. The Big Ten says its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to restart sports.
Back in August, the conference voted to postpone fall sports. Incoming Ohio State University president Kristina Johnson was one of only three dissenters. OSU’s head team physician Dr. Jim Borchers, who co-chairs the Big 10’s Return to Competition Task Force medical subcommittee, says group has drafted extensive protocols to monitor the health of the athletes and others – and the data will further research into the effects of the coronavirus.
“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.”
Each team will have a Chief Infection Officer, and daily antigen testing will cover athletes, coaches, trainers and any other personnel on the field. Any any student that tests positive will have to sit out for 3 weeks, and undergo cardiac testing by a doctor designated by the school before returning.
Play will begin the weekend of Oct 23rd, reportedly with a game a week, winding up to the Big Ten championship scheduled for December 19th.