In Reversal, Big Ten Will Play Football in 2020

The conference will try to play football as soon as the weekend of October 24

In Reversal, Big Ten Will Play Football in 2020
The Big Ten logo on the field during a game between Penn State and Indiana.
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Less than five weeks after pushing football and other fall sports to the spring due to the pandemic, the Big Ten has called a reverse.

Facing pressure from everyone from coaches to President Trump to return to play, the conference changed course Wednesday and said it plans to begin its season the weekend of October 23-24.

If all goes well, each team in the conference will play eight games in eight weeks and the Big Ten championship game will be held on December 19, which should allow teams an opportunity to compete for the national championship.

To ensure everyone is safe, players, coaches, trainers and anyone else who ventures onto playing and practice fields will undergo daily testing for COVID-19 and any player who tests positive will be barred from games for at least 21 days. Any team that records a positivity rate of at least five percent will stop practice and competition for at least a week, according to the conference.

“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,” said Dr. Jim Borchers, the head team physician at Ohio State University. “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.”

Following the news, the Pac-12 released a statement saying there’s no change to the conference’s football plans.

Conferences like the ACC and the Big 12 have already returned to play, and a handful of games have been postponed due to the coronavirus.

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