Big Ten’s fall football season will go forward after all.
In a reversal, the Big Ten Conference announced on Wednesday that it plans to begin playing football again next month after previously postponing the season in August, The Washington Post reports. The Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to resume the season beginning on the weekend of Oct. 23-24, an announcement said.
“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,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said.
Big Ten announced “significant medical protocols” it will be implementing, which will include daily COVID-19 antigen testing. Student-athletes who test positive for the coronavirus will “undergo comprehensive cardiac testing” and be required to receive clearance from a cardiologist, and they’ll return to competition no sooner than 21 days after testing positive. Big Ten also said it will establish a “cardiac registry” to help “examine the effects on COVID-19 positive student-athletes.”
This decision comes after Big Ten announced last month it would be postponing its 2020-21 fall season, with Warren at the time saying it had become “abundantly clear that there was too much uncertainty regarding potential medical risks to allow our student-athletes to compete this fall.”
Since then, Big Ten had faced pressure to go forward in the fall, including from President Trump, The New York Times notes. During an ABC town hall on Tuesday night, Trump said he was “pushing hard” for Big Ten to “open back up for the football games,” adding, “let them play sports.” In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump wrote, “It is my great honor to have helped!!!”
But the decision, the Times writes, is “likely to provoke new outrage from those who will believe the league is prioritizing profits, entertainment and a measure of public relations peace over health and safety.” Brendan Morrow