Big Ten Officially Votes To Return
The roller coaster that is Big 10 football seems to have settled. The conference has decided to play its season after all, beginning on the weekend of Oct. 24. This reverses a decision made at the beginning of August to forgo a fall season.
School presidents and chancellors unanimously voted to play in the fall, changing their minds due to better daily testing capabilities and stronger confidence in the medical information involving the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The conference will hold an eight game conference schedule with no off weeks built in and will hold a conference championship game on Dec. 19, one day prior to the College Football Playoff Committee selecting its participants this year. Teams will play all six opponents in their division and will draw two other opponents from the opposite division.
Teams that do not make the conference championship game will be paired for an additional ninth game with a cross divisional opponent.
Universities will need to implement daily testing of its athletes and personnel no later than Sept. 30. Teams will be assigned a color code based on how many COVID-19 cases they are dealing with.
Green is assigned if a team's positivity rate is under 2%. Orange if a team's positivity rate is between 2% and 5% and those teams "must proceed with caution and enhance COVID-19 prevention." Red for teams who's positivity rate exceeds 5%, those schools will be required to halt practice and competitions for seven days.
Once a player from the Big 10 tests positive for COVID-19 he is required to wait at least 21 days before returning to competition and must undergo extensive cardiac testing. Myocarditis, a heart condition, was one of the primary reasons the league had originally decided to cancel the season.
"Great news today. Over the past month, I could sense the anticipation from our players and coaches, and I'm thrilled on their behalf that they will have a chance to play a 2020 season. Stay positive. Test negative. Let's play football," Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Wednesday in a prepared statement.
The Big 10 will release a week-by-week schedule later on this week.